Crises have a way of warping the space-time continuum. The metronomic rhythm of life becomes irregular, seconds stretch into days as the problem blots out the past, renders the future invisible. No locale offers harbor from the terror; there is no safe place. Stress-induced hallucinations manifest reminders of the issue in the most unlikely of spots. Sleep offers no refuge. Upon waking, we struggle to distinguish nightmare from reality. Barely sane, we cannot imagine a time when the problem does not dominate our life.
And yet, for those that are not incarcerated for life, there is eventually a solution. It may take a day or a month or several years, but even the most intractable challenges have an expiration date. Sometimes it is coincident with one’s last breath, but more often it is the struggle that first capitulates. The relief at this end is rarely as complete as the thrall in which we were held, but life nonetheless progresses forward.
A few years hence, happenstance will call to mind the past problem. We will be shocked and chagrined that something that we can now barely remember was such an intense part of our life. Once fearing that we would never escape our tribulation, now we cannot understand why something so petty distracted us from the important business of living, loving, and laughing. Sheepish, we will swear an oath to never again be so myopic. And we will violate that vow upon running into another roadblock.
A lack of perspective is understandable in kids and adolescents, those without enough experience to understand the bumpy road of life, its joys and devastations. Adults have no such excuse. Having seen enough moons to know that some are full and some are new, some are blood and some are obfuscated by clouds, we should have achieved the equanimity of an ancient sage. We should be quick to celebrate success and loathe to dwell on failure, we should embrace even tiny moments of happiness rather than wallowing in minor melancholies.
Locked into a present conundrum, the entirety of our energies are devoted in that direction. The majority of these outputs are totally useless. Instead of productively crafting a resolution, we spend an inordinate amount of time conjecturing about eventualities that will never come to pass. “No worries” is a common phrase, but rarely do we embody its critical sentiment.
Knowing the human predilection to allow conflicts to consume our lives, I am continually mystified that people make the affirmative decision to prolong strife by engaging in litigation. Rather than facing the root problem head-on through rational discussion or with the assistance of a trained mediator, people subject themselves to a process whose inherent characteristics will draw out the issue for years and cause tremendous financial strain and commensurate worry.
Regardless of the nature of the problem, whether self-inflicted or unavoidable, we must all make a concerted effort to compartmentalize our traumas. Even a life-threatening situation does not overshadow the chance to fully experience the blissful minutiae of existence. If terminal patients can laugh at silly jokes and swoon at the taste of a chocolate chunk, then the able-bodied and minded can clearly do likewise.
When the time comes to review the arc of our lives, we do not want to regret that we allowed our zest to be quashed by the weight of any trouble large or small. We have limited time here and each moment is precious. Just as humanity constitutes a minuscule segment of geologic time, so too is your current problem a mere blip on the radar of your life.