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Houston Mission Control 1970

If you are like me when you hear the word, “Houston….” your mind immediately finishes with, “…we have a problem.” The actual words are “Houston, we’ve had a problem.” The past perfect sounds so much better to me. Contrast those five words, starkly and ever more darkly, with these four, spoken to me by a dear friend, “The Challenger has exploded.” And, I’m fighting back tears as I write this because it still hurts.

Why I’m writing:

Reading Mark Manson’s book, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”, I’ve come to a chapter titled, “Happiness Comes from Solving Problems.” Course correction is a kind of constant problem-solving exercise and it should be beneficial to anyone who is on a journey. Seeing myself as being on a journey that is my life, and constantly seeking guidance (and growth) along the way, I count that as success. If you believe success leads to happiness, you may have it backward. Happiness leads to success. If you ever feel as if you’ve arrived, begin again. Reinventing yourself is the easiest way to create new problems.

For me, being on this journey is success. Ending my travels would be, well, the end for me.

  • Looking back at where I’ve been and gleaning insight from things in my past (especially found solutions and unsolved problems) helps me remember to leave the pain behind and keep the lessons.

  • Thinking that I’m often perfect just as I am in the present allows me to sleep well.

  • Knowing there are new problems to solve, and there is progress to be made in the near and distant future wakes me up.

    All is well.

You may recall the problem reported to Houston was solved, and the problem with the Challenger lives on in my spirit and in my heart. The serenity prayer comes to mind as I realize I’ve come to accept the pain. The pain of being a “Highly Sensitive Person” is not a problem, wanting to not be that would create one. A lesson may be that giving a f*ck about every single minute detail is important to space travel, but it may not be so for your walk through life. “Let it go” comes up often along the way.

Back to the idea posited by Manson, on happiness, I’ve been a problem solver for so long, I should be overjoyed by now! Enter “Disappointment Panda” – who says, the solution to a problem creates a new problem. So, simply, if you always have problems to solve, you will always be happy.