My boyfriend is currently rereading The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck. He had a spare copy, so I am rereading it with him. In the first chapter we read that life is difficult and full of problems. Here’s what the Wikipedia article about it had to say:
Peck’s book begins with the profound truth that “Life is difficult” We must attest to the fact that life was never meant to be easy, and that it is nothing but a battlefield of problems. We can either moan about them or solve them.
I find that very comforting.
…what? You don’t find that comforting? Well, stick with me for a moment, let’s break this down. I am not going to reiterate what the book has to say about it, I’m going to tell you why I personally find that very comforting:
If we just start by accepting the truth that life is difficult, it means it is difficult for everyone; not just me, or you, or that guy down the street. It means it is also difficult for the people we admire, our heroes, even the people who don’t seem to have any problems. Life is difficult for them too – the problems are going to be as varied as we are, but everyone has them.
And if you take that a little further, it means that your life is difficult because everyone’s life is difficult – not because you are cursed, or asked out the wrong girl or said that stupid thing in the third grade that still makes you embarrassed to think about. Beating yourself up is not going to change the fact that life is full of problems.
When I first started musing on all this, my first thought was that if life is full of problems, maybe it doesn’t really matter what choices you make – there are always going to be problems, so why try to fight it? But of course, common sense quickly ruled that out. Not making decisions doesn’t negate having problems! Some problems are easier to accept than others. Not having enough time to do the volunteer work I want to is a problem I can handle – not having a place to live is one I would rather not have.
So the goal then, is to make the best choices we can. We need to tackle the problems: acknowledge our faults and weaknesses and try constantly to get better. The important thing is that you are not alone, even if it feels that way sometimes – there are always people out there who have been through things similar, and there are people out there right now, fighting similar demons. Life is going to be hard, but there are ways to get through it.
Personally, I find that comforting.
Photo credit: carolinejoan