It was Albert Camus, a philosopher, who gave a remarkable reflection on the Greek myth of Sisyphus.

Because Sisyphus committed a crime against a god, he was condemned to spend an eternity rolling a boulder up the top of a hill.

Not so difficult and painful to do that if you can actually reach said hilltop – but the punishment comes in this: every time he does get to the top, the boulder would roll back down, and Sisyphus would have to start all over again.

Albert Camus reflects on this with a preposterous thought:  “We must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

What? Why?

Camus expounds that we must imagine Sisyphus happy because we’re all Sisyphus. Nothing we do is actually inherently important. We’re all just rolling boulders up hills.

You can take the time to really think about this and what this means. But before you get sucked into a spiral or get depressed about the inherent meaninglessness of the human condition, you can also think about how this is precisely what’s so amazing about the whole human enterprise – that we make things meaningful.

We have the ability to derive meaning from our relationships and our jobs and our communities. And we do just that.

We can build something and make it meaningful. We find meaning in our everyday routine, in simple conversations, in nature, in having and getting things at work done, in kindness towards others, in cooking a wonderful meal, in pursuing a career, in climbing Mt. Everest, in fighting against social injustice, in meeting a TV personality you grew up watching, or in buying a domain name to turn it into your website.

We even build communities around things that we find meaningful. We do this as humans because we find value in connections. We connect with people with whom we share the same values, those who can aspire with us for the same goals and believe with us in the same causes. You see – we have learned as a species to collectively celebrate sports or art or a historical symbol – things that may not even have an inherent value, but are now indispensable and valuable aspects of society because a group of people care about it enough.

Not only do we find meaning for ourselves, but we gather together and collectively celebrate things we deem to be meaningful and important.

It doesn’t matter what you do or where you do it. The myth of Sisyphus even goes as far as tell us that it might not really matter when you reach the top. Or whether you reach it at all. Because it’s just gonna roll back down anyway.

I am writing this to remind myself that when things are harder than usual and I just want to give up, there are a number of things that I truly deeply find meaningful and purposeful. I hope that like me, you’ll find this to be a hopeful reminder of the things that actually matter to you, things that you get meaning from.

It’s also a reminder that reaching the top is a great goal, but it shouldn’t define you or me. You may be able to reach your top faster (and perhaps, more frequently), but as long as you live, you will always be rolling your boulder. So yes, Camus was pretty right. We must imagine Sisyphus happy.