Hamel: ‘I’m bored of strong’

Columnist and Opinion Editor Peyton Hamel tells a story about the dreariness of the marathon of life. 

Peyton Hamel

Ouch. Every foot that lands is pricked by needles and plastered with muck. I feel so dirty.

I wish I had the time to take off my shoe and dump the pebbles. They’re cuddled into the crevices between my toes. I can feel my ACL ripping.

I wonder how much longer I have until the rest of my body gives. 

When was the last time there was a pitstop? There hasn’t been one in miles. Did I have water or a granola bar?

I have to stop, just for a second. I’m going to hurl. Make sure to get off the path. 

Keep going.

At least I feel a little better. I’ve lost count of the miles… the minutes. 

I didn’t even see the ledge. My ankle is gushing blood. Should I conserve the Band-Aids I have left and use one or do I do what I can now? I don’t know.

I’m losing my mind. 

I’m exhausted. 

You’re running a marathon. That’s the reality of life, isn’t it? You keep going, regardless of whether or not you know where you are going. Time doesn’t stop for you. The planet doesn’t stop spinning for you. You have to catch your breath while you’re still running. 

All you can really do is wait for the pit stops, drink your water, puke on the side of the track if you can. Sometimes you even have to shred your legs to get over that one hill. Instead of miles, we have minutes. We are trying to beat the amount of time we have on earth and make the best of it.

At some point, we have to ask ourselves how much farther, how much longer and how much faster. It’s not worth dragging yourself through the dirt to feel like you’re just getting by. Right?

What’s the result? 

Low self-esteem. Anxiety. Depression.

Societal expectations are real, and at some point, you have to admit to yourself that you just can’t do it all. It’s the emotional fatigue. And it’s a killer. 

Have you ever heard of Marie Curie? The woman who won not just one but two Nobel Prizes? Depicted in the 2019 film “Radioactive,” Curie says, “I’m bored of strong.” It resonates with me. I’m bored of running my marathon all day, every day. Who forced me to jump in quicksand and tell me to find a way out? What bylaws am I following so I don’t get put in a corner? No one. Nothing. 

Marie Curie discovered two new elements: radium and polonium. Then radioactivity. She wasn’t offered to receive her first Nobel Prize because she was a woman. Her husband accepted it on his own. During World War I, she was persecuted in France, the location of her lab, from being from Poland. Her husband died, poisoned from the very thing they discovered.

I would be bored of staying strong, too. 

Don’t let the American rat race fool you. You don’t need to grind at every hour of every day to be at the top. You don’t need to work at the dead of night and sacrifice your life to feel like you’re “catching up.” In fact, why do you need to be at the top at all? Why the best? Ask yourself if you will be happy before it’s too late. This goes for adults of all generations. Where can you go from here? 

I know it’s summer and life has cooled down a bit for all of us on campus (including most faculty and staff), so take the time to remember that the semester starts in August, and you need to take the time to breathe. Enjoy something before another run.

Boredom is the real killer.