The Problem Problem

alternate title: the issue issue.

Humor aside, I’ve been thinking about problems – not in the particular but in the general. I was having a kind of difficult day, but only because somehow I’ve come down with an awful flu and I can’t fathom where I got it as I’ve been alone all week. But it made the past 48 hours rather tedious, so as I was driving home earlier I was thinking about my problems. Or rather I was thinking about times when I didn’t have problems.

The truth is there’s never really a time when we don’t have problems, I think. There are always obstacles in our lives, or difficult decisions to be made, or something we could have done better. And each day, we see those things. In retrospect we can look back and see whole periods of our lives where things were simpler or easier or just brimming with good things. And we always wonder why life had to get harder after that.

But the truth is, when we were in the midst of those good times, it’s likely we didn’t even see it. We were focused on the little daily issues that plagued us and which at the time meant the end times were coming. But the end times didn’t come and we got through whatever silly thing it was, and now for the life of us we can’t even remember what it was we were ripping our hair out over. Now all that remains of some of these periods is memory of ease (unless you ripped out enough hair to have a bald spot, in which case I commend your determination and pain threshold… or something.)

I suppose the point is that we may think things are rough right now, but if we put it into perspective, we’d realize things are pretty great and the world isn’t ending. This is a period of your life that Future You will look back on and comment on how good things were  back then.

Maybe we should wake up and smell the coffee and comment on how good things are now. Maybe we should appreciate what we have for a change instead of being so damned negative. I’m not dismissing your problems. You’ve got them. Trust me. Who doesn’t? But get over it for a minute.

Stop feeling punished by the world and open your eyes that are functioning and breathe with your lungs that are functioning and go for a walk with your legs that are functioning and take stock of the things that are good. Be grateful for your house and your shitty job and the food in your fridge and the mattress you sleep on. Call your friends and family that aren’t dead or pissed with your depressed attitude. Read a book with your brain that can understand language. Go talk to a person that you are able to speak to and have a conversation about something you like.

The problem is that we’ve got problems, and problems are all we can see. Do you know what’s interesting – we were created with a greater capacity than that. So use it. Look at all the good stuff. Stop sulking. Be alive and well and happy. I’ll join you. Life is good right now.


Edit: Clinical depression is another matter. I know that. I really very a lot truly know that. This isn’t about minimizing the gravitas of your real problems, this is about that funk we get in when we don’t remind ourselves of the good that does surround us. I recognize that seeing positives isn’t easy for everyone. Hell, it isn’t easy for me!  This was meant to encourage, in its harsh way. Not to discourage. 

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