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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Some problems you don’t solve

Some problems are solved, others you have to live with.

It’s like getting a flat tire on your car in the middle of nowhere, far from cell phone coverage. If you have a spare tire, a jack and a tire iron, the problem can be solved. If you have no spare, then the problem can’t be solved. You are not going to drive home any time soon. Then it comes down to other options. Should you try and walk back? Would staying with the car be better? Is there a third way to live with it?

Most of us have grown up in a world where problems are solved. No water in the desert? Well then water is brought to the dessert, either from aqueducts or very deep wells. Insects attacking your crops: poison them. That stops working, then genetically alter the crops. Oil shortage? Drill more, use alternative fuels, and increase efficiency. Define a problem, then find a solution.

Sometimes the problems get too big to fix. The deep wells dry up. The supply for the aqueduct stops flowing. Insects adapt to your farming techniques faster than they can be defeated. Oil wells come up dry, alternatives fall short, and efficiency can’t be increased infinitely.

That’s on the macro scale. An individual have almost no influence at that level. Occasionally large groups of individuals working in common can do something, but even they can’t make something out of nothing. If there is no spare tire, there is no spare tire. At the individual level, macro problems can’t be solved, only lived with.

For example, your income drops and you can no longer afford house payments. To solve the problem, income could be increased or maybe smaller payments could be negotiated. If the problem can’t be solved, then what? Then it’s time to figure out a new living arrangement. The situation changes from “how can I make this payment?” to “how do I stay out of the rain?”

The sooner a person recognizes the problem can’t be solved, the more time there is to find a way to live with it. Having the sheriff at your door with an eviction order limits your options. Finding a rent at the last minute isn’t easy. A little lead time and thought on the problem and better ways of living with it might be found. Maybe the house could be sold and a more affordable one bought. Living in your car isn’t all that bad if your car is a motorhome. Just about any kind of shelter beats living on the streets.

We have a lot of potential problems beyond our ability to solve, but we with some forethought and flexibility, we could increase our ability to live with them. It could be something financial, but it could be food, electricity, transportation -just about anything we rely on day to day.

Then there are interpersonal issues. Many of those can’t be solved, only lived with. One person may help or assist another person, but they can never “fix” them. We can only fix ourselves, and even that is a challenge.



  1. Replies
    1. It's tough to keep eyes open when we don't like what we see.

  2. Yes indeed we have met the enemy, and is us...
    Change and adapt we must.

    1. adapt or die, the way things are looking right now.

  3. It is like my old Dad always told me, "Son, nothing is ever so bad that it can't get worse!"

    1. It's always darkest before it gets really black.

    2. And that light at the tunnel end is just as possibly a TRAIN.

  4. People in relationships cannot understand why the other person changes, do they not realize all human beings and animals too change..If one is to have anykind of relationship one must consider that the person who is looking at another and accusing etc. has changed and to look into the mirror to see one's self..Been married almost 40 years and I know that I have changed significantly, my health has gone down due to too much calories and not enough exercise, got type 2 diabetes now that got my attention, cannot eat what I liked to do when I wanted, must walk each and everyday and count the carbs, sugars, etc..My hubby just came back from the doctor, allergies, yes, belly yes, must walk and restrict calories and what he eats, he has changed, but still the sweet angel he has always been to me, I try to be sweet and loving to him, this weekend he will be 65 in our society no one and business at the top of that list respects, wisdom and age anymore. He had to retire and worked for another year at the same company less pay more crap, he said enough is enough, they hire young people with no skills, manners, etc. to save money, these kids will be in our future and they hate hate hate anyone over 50..shame on them..I can only imagine what the USA will treat seniors in the future because it isn't looking tooo great or respectful now..Doctor my husband saw at a HMO is the same age as our only child only he is respectful and good..but always good to see the doctor first appt. of the day..ciao..enjoy your blog, hopefully you will be having more happy days sixbears!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!