No Problem

At dance class today, people were talking about their problems. One person said it was important to be kind, that everyone had a secret problem they were dealing with.

At that particular moment, I was feeling calm, at peace with the world, and fairly cool. (The coolness would wore off quite quickly — the air conditioner in the studio is broken, and it got up to about 103° today.) So said, “I don’t have any problems.”

They came back at me with a stern, “Everyone has problems,” and one woman reminded me that I still don’t have my car. (It’s been at the auto body shop for three months.)

I kept my mouth shut as I so often do now. I get tired of people shooting me down when I talk, so I figure it’s best not to say anything, but the truth is, I don’t have problems. At least not at the moment. I might not have my car, but I have a place to live, a refrigerator full of groceries I purchased, and rides to and from the dance studio. Despite the heat, I have the ability to walk within reasonable distances if I need to get to the store. And I have my computer available to blog or check with online folks.

Next week could be a different matter, but maybe not. A problem is defined as “a matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome.” Synonyms are: difficulty, trouble, worry, complication, difficult situation; snag, hitch, drawback, stumbling block, obstacle, hurdle, hiccup, setback, catch; predicament, plight; misfortune, mishap, misadventure; dilemma, quandary.

The way I see it, my life right now is an adventure, and I welcome whatever comes my way. I might not particularly like some of the interpersonal situations I find myself in, but the situations are fleeting and provide me with lessons and challenges. (I tend to brood when people treat me with less than the consideration I feel I deserve, and brooding is such an unattractive response that I would like to overcome that tendency. But even that is not a problem. Just a character trait I don’t admire.)

I’m learning to live in the moment, and not many problems can be contained in any particular moment. Worry is for tomorrow, and tomorrow can take care of itself. As the saying goes, “tomorrow never comes.” Because when today’s tomorrow gets here, it will be tomorrow’s today.

I have no idea how long I can continue this attitude. When problems do show up on my doorstep (assuming I have a doorstep), I’ll deal with them then. For now, I am lucky. I have no problems.
Life is a great big canvas


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

6 Responses to “No Problem”

  1. Constance Says:

    I hope that I was not one of those people. If, I was I apologize.

  2. rami ungar the writer Says:

    The car thing sounds more like an inconvenience than a problem. It’s annoying, but it’s not something you can’t live without. It’s like manga for me: I love it greatly, and at the same time I’m not reading as much as I would like because I’m going abroad soon. Is it annoying? Yes. Can I survive this separation? More than likely (if I couldn’t, I’d be very worried about where my priorities are at).

  3. leesis Says:

    ah Pat as I read my smile got bigger as you didn’t own the needs of others. What a lovely place to be…’without problems’ and being aware of that but more, appreciating what you do have.

    I do wonder if we met whether you would be able to like me. For I would have turned around and told those dear souls; with humor and respect but bluntly; why what they were saying to you was just so very wrong and more, they should instead be aspiring to the place you are at.

    I’m not saying where you are at is perfect…certainly you are on a road you didn’t choose. But you honesty, your willingness to embrace the moment when it was grief…now as adventure…has led you to “I don’t have any problems.” Friken AWESOME!!! From the immensity of the three month grief post (when I first met you) to now…oh my goodness my friend it is so right after all you have been through. What a divine place to be after all the emotional mountains you have had to climb.

    I understand your tiredness.Of course your poor old dance class felt you separate from their tribe. If we are different we offer a unmeant challenge to their lives and usually this is a very uncomfortable feeling for folks. History supports this statement :). More I have found any concept of entering into ‘unknown’ territory scares the living…hmmm…gizzards out of folk. I can tell you as a counselor this is often the reason someone quits before changing and consequentially keeps living the pain. My admiration for you grows yearly Pat 🙂 Enjoy your problem free time whilst welcoming the challenges. I have learnt to define folks who challenge my truth as ‘the sandpaper that refines my ‘what matters’ most to me’. It helps when I just want to slap them 🙂 xx

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I have no doubts if we met that I would be able to like you. In my experience, online friendships segue wholly intact into offline friendships. It’s even more of guarantee when people share insights, ideas, support, respect. And I definitely respect you, your ideas, your support! Besides, I like blunt people, though sometimes when I get the brunt of the bluntness, I feel hurt, but only when it’s an unfair assessment.

      I’ve tried to be more straightforward with people, but somehow it always gets out of hand, and I end up having to make peace. (The last time I said something, I was called rude, though I was anything but.) It’s easier simply to walk away, especially if the the person isn’t important to me. Besides, I can’t win when it comes to narcissists. They will always turn things to where they are the one wronged. One good thing about this — after Jeff died, I thought I’d need to be conciliatory to folks otherwise I’d be alone, but now I don’t care. I’d rather be alone than deal with those who don’t treat me well.

      It’s been five years this month since we “met.” Wow. Odd to think you’ve been in my life almost as long as Jeff has been gone. You are so very wise, it’s been comforting to know you’ve kept an eye on me all these years. It made me feel as if I could embrace all the insanity, and if I stepped to far into the void, someone would notice. It’s funny that I’m stepping into a new sort of void — embracing uncertainty. It seems normal to me, but I do think it sets me apart. I mean, who in their right mind does such a thing? Well, me, of course.

      One way or another, I’d like to meet you. I’m still thinking about that freighter to NZ, with stops in AU. And of course, if you ever come to the US, you better darn well tell me!!

  4. Coco Ihle Says:

    Great post, Pat!!!! Good for you. I probably would have defended myself, but then I might have sounded indignant. Most people have no idea how fortunate they really are and they complain, sometimes, just for sympathy or support.

    Recently, I saw this and I think it says it all: ” WORRYING does not take away tomorrow’s TROUBLES; it takes away today’s PEACE!

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I like that saying. It’s hard to follow because somehow we think worry does take away tomorrows troubles, so it’s hard to let go of the worry. I’m trying!

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