We all carry a burden of some sort. Everyone has stress that we pretend isn’t killing us deep inside, whether it’s a job, relationship, debt, family, or a dark secret. At some point, the stress could literally kill you through a heart attack or some other illness brought on or exacerbated by stress. We are camels, carrying our masters’ possessions across a never ending desert. They keep adding more weight to our backs. Oh wait, they forgot their pen. They place it in a small pocket on our back and we collapse. That was the last straw that broke the camel’s back.
In your life right now, what would be your last straw? We are funny creatures. Many times, what we think is the last straw, isn’t. We keep moving forward and set a new expectation of a future that would be totally unbearable. When Donald Trump was running for office, many people said they would leave the country if he was elected. Where are these people now? Still at home. Once we get accustomed to our new circumstances, we naturally adapt and create a new “straw.”
I was just watching the movie Office Space on the flight back from Madrid for about the 12 millionth time. The character Milton with the thick glasses keeps mumbling to himself the whole movie about how upset he is at how he is treated by management. No one listens to him because they don’t take him seriously. He mutters that if they take his stapler he will set the building on fire.
What will it take for you to metaphorically set the building on fire? How bad does it need to get before you’ve had enough? I think the story about the last straw that broke the camel’s back is really telling us to not carry any weight to begin with. This may not be completely possible in our lives, but there are definitely ways to reduce the load. In Lord of the Rings, Sam says to Frodo, “Share the load,” referring to the all-powerful ring that is eating away at Frodo’s soul, on its way to turning him into another Golem. Frodo gets angry at Sam because he is so consumed by darkness. He is in love with his stress.
We are attached to our stress as well. We need to let it go and drop the weight. If it’s not possible right now, we should plan and take actions to eliminate our stress as soon as possible.