Every day it gets a little easier…

A couple days ago, I watched the season finale of BoJack Horseman season 2, and the final scene really struck a chord with me. Don’t worry, I wouldn’t really consider this a spoiler. If you haven’t seen BoJack Horseman, it’s a cartoon centred around BoJack, a Hollywood celeb who struggles with issues like insecurity and self-doubt. It’s pretty relatable, except for the fact that he is a horse.

So the season starts off with BoJack going for a run and basically whinging about how awful it feels. In the scene, an old baboon jogs past him almost effortlessly. Throughout the season, we occasionally see the old baboon jog past BoJack’s house. Also, we no longer see BoJack running because he pretty much gave up after the first run.

In the final scene of season 2, we see that BoJack has picked himself up (ish) and is going for a run again, whinging like the first time. On the top of the hill, he collapses on the grass, and we get these 2 lines of beautiful dialogue:

Jogging Baboon: Every day it gets a little easier. But you gotta do it every day — that’s the hard part. But it does get easier.

BoJack: Okay.

You can watch the short scene here, and if you’re confused as to why a baboon is talking to a horse, maybe watch a trailer or something. But coming back to the topic, the baboon’s words in a way, really encouraged me.

Thus far in 2022, I’ve been struggling with building good habits and breaking old, not-so-good ones. Even the simplest things like sleeping and waking up early. We’re one third into 2022 and I’m literally no better off than I was at the start of the year when it comes to my sleep schedule. Last week on the train, I overheard some people talking about this thing called Reverse Bedtime Procrastination, and that’s exactly what I have been doing! It’s the primary reason why I struggle with sleeping early.

The baboon’s words were simple but effective. It made so much sense and it rang true to me. Committing to a habit every day is hard, but with each passing day, it gets easier. The knowledge that if I commit to it today, it will get slightly easier tomorrow, is just immensely encouraging and heartening to me.

Thank you Jogging Baboon :’)

Not an emo post

If there is an experience that is common to all humankind, I would say it is suffering. I wouldn’t go as far as to say “existence is suffering”, but you don’t have to be an anti-natalist to agree that life can be hard sometimes and everyone goes through difficult times every now and then. So yeah, if you’re a human, suffering is kinda unavoidable. But wait, I promise I didn’t bring this up just to depress you. I’d like to explore how the Stoics and Christians respond to suffering and the similarities between them.

To the Stoics, suffering or obstacles in life provide you with an opportunity to practice your philosophy and Stoic virtues. After all, what is the point of Stoicism if your life is perfect and you’re perpetually happy? If you’re never rattled in life, there’s no need for Stoicism at all! Can you really call yourself a Stoic if you never have to practice your philosophy? Stoicism is easy to read about, but difficult to put into practice. And so, as Marcus Aurelius says, count yourself lucky if things don’t go your way, for you now have the chance to really be a Stoic!

I hear you say “How unlucky that this should happen to me!” Not at all! Say insted, “How lucky that I am not broken by what has happened and am not afraid of what is about to happen. The same blow might have struck anyone, but not many would have absorbed it without capitulation or complaint.”

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

To the Christians, suffering is also a part and parcel of life, and the appropriate response to suffering is, well, to rejoice. As counterintuitive as it might sound, it’s not asking you to be a masochist, but rather you can rejoice because of the benefit it provides. Like character building for instance. Or in my case, as a student, after each semester of suffering, I emerge stronger and a little bit smarter (hopefully). The apostle Paul puts it very nicely:

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope

Romans 5:3-4 (ESV)

I think both the Stoics and Christians will agree that counting yourself lucky or rejoicing in your suffering is more than just a coping mechanism for difficult times. Instead, these responses are deeply rooted in reason if you truly embody your philosophy or faith. But of course, that’s not to say it’s easy to respond in such a manner. It’s definitely a struggle for me, so I guess I’m writing this as a note-to-self more than anything.

And as usual, I’m terrible at concluding my posts but, thanks for reading my first post of 2022!