The Lonely Grind

Keith Lim
5 min readAug 29, 2018

(Click on this Youtube link to listen to the melody to feel the moment of when I wrote this piece)

Mountain Gazing by Keith Lim

It’s 12 a.m in the morning. The only thing that catches my attention is that one lamp in the corner of the room that propagates its ambient yellow light right beneath it. Just right beneath it which seems enough to give out a decent amount of brightness to the living room to identify all the furniture that stands stagnant. No sudden movement, no noise coming from conversations, no breathe of air given out by another living individual. It’s dark, silent, and slow. The only sound that fills the loneliness is the clicking of my keyboard, character by character. It’s quiet, it’s long, it’s the grind that I chose to take up on.

A soundtrack to “The Social Network”: Hand Covers Bruise

As the melody of Hand Covers Bruise slowly chime from my earbuds into my ears, it stirred voices from my memories.

“Why do you have to try so hard? Why can’t you ever be satisfied with what you have?”

The grind is not easy, not physically nor mentally. You pick up your bag, filled with all the necessary equipments, your laptop, keyboard, earbuds, charger, and you find a place where you can sit and focus. It’s great when you can do it at a cafe, but as the night creeps in, and the lights from each shop dims. You pack your bag, and you find the next stop for you to focus. You try not to talk, cause conversations slow you down. Your brain wanders every now and then, but you’ve got to pull yourself back, and focus.

The moment you chose this path, you know it will be different. The grind overwhelms your thought. “What should I do next?”, “How can I make it better?”, “Maybe if I change the way I do this, it will work,”. Sometimes, it also suppress your social skills. When everyone’s talking about the things they did yesterday, all you can do is listen, cause the only thing you actually did last night and every night before yesterday, was work and trying your best to improve yourself.

“Come hang out this weekend.” says your dear friend, but you know that that means sacrificing some of your grind time. You stopped and think for a minute, debating on whether you should work or spend time with them. Because you really really do want to spend time with them, but the grind does not work by itself.

The toughest part, is that, often times, the grind means staying awake when everyone’s asleep, giving up social time, and just pushing on all by yourself. It’s not glamorous, it’s a lot of hard work, it’s a lot of time spent by yourself. The grind can be very very lonely.

Why do you have to try so hard? Why can’t you be satisfied with what you have? A question that I still ask myself every now and then, and I don’t have an answer most of the time. Because times like this, when the frost of loneliness overwhelms me, I start losing sight. The urge to give up shouts ever so loudly in my mind. And tears starts rolling for no reason, as you feel that your mental capacity is at its limits. I push on, I don’t stop.

The most beautiful things in life, is more than what the eyes can perceive.

See, the grind is not about being dissatisfied. It’s not about letting your innate greediness take over your soul. It’s not about the constant loneliness that overwhelms you. It’s about the why. Because, why are you grinding?

I was a lucky kid when I was growing up. With the privilege I had, I spent hours and hours watching cartoons, hours and hours playing video games on my computer, hours and hours grabbing coffee and meals with my friends, talking about random crap that might or might not matter. Yet today, the cartoons that I’ve watched, the matches of games that I’ve played, and random conversations I’ve made, I don’t feel it. It’s just another memory. The skills that I could’ve developed, the people that I could’ve positively impacted, the little changes that I could’ve made towards this world, still haunts me.

The grind is not just about the loneliness. It’s about all the possibilities that could come from it. The possibilities to change the world, the possibilities to make a positive impact to people’s lives, the possibilities to grow to the highest point that you can as an individual. The toughness that comes from it hardens your mentality, prepping you for the unexpected opportunities that comes your way, and the greatness that will hopefully come one day.

It’s not just about the hard work, it’s about loving the work that you do. It’s about being present in what you do and feeling that sense of content every moment when you’re pushing yourself to greater lengths. It’s not about being happy when you receive that gift, or the joke that the TV character made. Because you learn how to truly enjoy the moment, even during the moments when the enormous amount of stress breaks you and you’re balling in tears. You learn how to toughen up, and give thanks to all the struggles you’ve went through. You learn how to truly appreciate and be grateful for all the little things and moments that you have received and are receiving.

One day, I will look back to today, successful or not. I will ask myself all these questions again.

Why do you have to try so hard? Why can’t you ever be satisfied with what you have?

Is it all worth it?

To be very honest, I don’t know, and I might never know. But, at the very least, I gave my all.

As the sound of the piano keys from the melody of Hands Covers Bruise continues playing. It started stirring up a different feeling. It’s not the sound of sadness, nor is it the sound of loneliness. It’s the sound of peace, and the sound of hope.

It’s a lonely journey. But grinders, keep grinding. I’ll see you on the other side, in the beautiful future that we are building together.

Sincerely,
Keith
The hopeful grinder

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Keith Lim

I'm lost, but I'll keep trying… Come ride through life together - https://wuyaa.substack.com/