There are different kinds of hard in the world.

One of them is like wading through molasses. On a cold day. Just living feels unbearably heavy. It’s that feeling you get of trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Or wanting to eat chocolate icecream and only getting vanilla while your tastebuds scream “WANT CHOCOLATE”. It’s when you go to bed exhausted and wake up the next morning still tired, and you don’t want to get out of bed.

The other one is like that feeling when you hit the fifth kilometer running on a forest trail. (For someone who likes running.) At some point part of you is like, STOP NOW, but the other part wants to keep running and running and running. It’s going to bed exhausted, but still wanting to get up in the morning.

Because the English language doesn’t have simple phrases for these different types of hard, I’ve decided to call the first one Philbert and the second Eugenie.

I think we do a huge disservice to ourselves when we say “You need to do hard things to get anywhere in life” or “life is hard” without taking into consideration the difference between Philbert-hard and Eugenie-hard. Eugenie-hard is healthy kind of hard, where struggle is part of growth. Philbert, on the other hand, is a drag, a heavy weight, an encumbrance. I personally don’t want to put up with Philbert. I will embrace Eugenie-hard. But Philbert-hard just sucks my energy and makes me crabby. If they were people, Philbert would be a person you must deal with occasionally, but you don’t invite them home. Eugenie, on the other hand, would make a great friend.

(P.S. I also think there are other kinds of hard. Dorothea-hard is a cousin of Philbert’s, where your energy is drained, and it’s like dragging yourself across a desert. BUT you do it because of a deep love for another person. And so the pain of Dorothea-hard is worth it because there’s love. There is no love with Philbert; just shame, condemnation, exhaustion and all those nasty things.)

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