Saturday, February 2, 2019


I really should get to the work of writing down things my father says.  He is wise. 

Today he told me this: 

“A lot of people don’t really have any meaningful capacity to solve their own problems.  They just wallow around in them, flail around in them, blame them on somebody else, ignore them, run from them, and of course misidentify them.”  

He remembers becoming aware, and horrified, somewhere around the age of 20, that no matter what, problems were going to keep coming.  “When I solved one, there would be another one right behind it."  

When he'd been a kid, no one had ever mentioned that troublesome little detail about, you know... life.  

It was shocking, and depressing.  Rather than pout about it (which, incidentally, would be a common and reasonable and common), he decided to go ahead and approach this realization, and thus, yes, life, by attacking problems as they came, fast and fierce, so he’d be ready for the next one. And he decided to do it that way because, he reckoned, if he didn’t, he would ultimately and inevitably be overwhelmed, swamped, and hopelessly stuck.  And he didn’t want that. 

These are all his words, by the way.  This his how he thinks.  Logical.  Rational.

He says he decided, all those years ago, to make it a goal to choose the type of problems he’d have to deal with. His thinking was characteristically linear:  If he found life work he enjoyed, the constant stream of problems coming his way would likely be related to things he liked.  Right?  It didn’t always work flawlessly, of course, because we can’t completely control such things.  But control wasn’t the point.  Increasing the odds that he’d enjoy the inevitable lifelong stream of problems—that was the point.  So he focused on a life of doing what he enjoyed, which was build houses, run his hay and sheep farm, raise his kids, help people, and write music into songs so sweet they could—can— silence a room.
I’d wager most people never figure out about accepting and attacking problems.  They're too busy being pissed the problems even exist to actually get to solving them. 

Instead, they want someone else to solve them.  

Thank goodness, I suppose, because that’s what I get paid a nice salary to do.  

It’s Groundhog Day, which is a good day to think about this.  It’s the point, actually.  Problems come and keep coming and keep coming. All life long. It’s like cleaning the house. It’s never, ever, ever done. Ever.  I mean, it gets done, constantly, but then people come home and live here.  So then it starts over again.  

"Make sure your kids know this," my father advised.  "Children should grow up knowing problems will keep on coming, and they have a choice in whether they like the type of problems that come.  The only way to get through life is to attack, attack, attack the problems."

That's what I'll try to do.  

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