Thursday, 8 September 2016

Problem Solving

One of the reasons I do well, even with the worst that ALS has thrown at me so far, is that I have that kind of "engineering" mind. I see life, or most of life, as a series of problems to be solved. Now I know, deep in my heart, that this is more to it than that. Yet each day, when faced with a new challenge, I know that my job is to fix it, to make it work, to find a solution and move forward.

There are, of course, problems which cannot be solved. For those, you simply work around them. When my legs started failing me, I got a cane. When I could no longer stand, I got a wheelchair. Can't reach something in the top cupboard? Use the lift mode on the power wheelchair. Can't get on or off the toilet? Use a commode chair? Can't pay the bills? Ask for help. In fact for many of the problems I face, asking for help is one of the best places to start.

I think if you take your emotions out of the mix and approach life as a problem solving game, you can have a lot more fun. It's possible to see the humour in things, to propose outrageous solutions, to try that which you have not tried before. The key is to have no fear of failure. The problem, of course, is that whole "emotions" thing. They are ever present. You can't really take them out of the mix. You just have to understand that they are another facet of the problem, another thing to resolve.

It is in my nature to find the humour in these things, to see the absurdity of life in general, the irony in all things. I get a fantastic truck so I can go fishing and hunting, then I decide to give up fishing and hunting because ALS makes them too difficult. Note that I did not say I can't go fishing or hunting. There are solutions out there for me. I just can't afford them. So rather than ask for help, I decide to let that part of my life go. Even so, this is, in fact, a solution. Sometimes the best solution to a problem is to avoid the problem altogether. Other times, you face it, you laugh, and you try to figure it out.

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