Jiwon's Alcove

Why Should I Bother?

Aug 2, 2022
Four people's arms of different races holding each other in a grid.

I have a bit of a history with existential questions. having long since struggled with the void that one must face once worldly desires are met. I have been fortunate enough to not have to worry about my survival, and, thanks to my education, not worry too much about employment or wages. I have achieved things that my peers strive towards, like a 4.0 GPA and recognition for my craft. I have experienced a relationship and know it's not the fairy tails that adults like to portray it as to young people.

Yet, even in my worst days where I don't see the point of it all, one thing makes me move: a friend in need. They will motivate me to extraordinary feats unexpected of a depressed person. It is to reciprocate the help that they have given me.

If I reframe my daily actions as helping those I care about, then it makes everything easier.

I am not doing homework for the sake of graduating with a college degree to get a job. (That's such a depressing outlook! How do people live like that?) I am getting my obligations done so that I can help others learn. Furthermore, by getting my work done, I am improving my ability to be more independent and therefore be more able to help others. In that sense, it is my obligation, as a young person, to help myself so that I can later help others.

I am not exploiting someone of their hard-earned money by providing a tutoring service. I am helping a student acquire the joy of learning and open up more opportunities in their life - at a reasonable price compared to the competition. (In an interesting irony, the fact that I care about not exploiting others in itself proves that I am not a complete nihilist.)

The mere act of talking with my family, spending time with them, and appreciating their hard work is helping them with their daily life.

The simple act of being a more functioning person helps inspire similar actions among those around me, creating a positive and constructive atmosphere. It's not selfish, therefore, to help myself.

From this framework, every single action is ultimately for the sake of mutual help. And, since it is the only remotely meaningful thing I could think of, it is the perspective that I much needed to get through the daily grind.