Sunday, April 13, 2014

Jar Of Flies

Problems are a lot like fruit flies, I've noticed.

You've got flies which are easy to swat and flies which are harder to swat. If you swat the easy flies, the smart ones breed more, owing to natural selection. The resulting flies will be smarter, or at least more resistant to your personal style of swatting, and they will breed until you have just as many flies as before, only these flies are just that much more difficult to hit.

You swat the hard ones, though, and it selects the difficult flies out of the pool and the easy ones breed. You have a dumber flock of flies which you can beat down with relative impunity.

Science!

Problems are kind of like that. You've got good problems and bad problems. Good problems are things like having too many friends who want to take up your free time. Not being able to make up your mind which books to read. Maybe you've got too many interesting assignments at work. A good problem might even be something you technically should call bad, but is just relatively minor. Maybe it's just an irritation, like a single fruit fly buzzing around your head.

Bad problems are...well, you probably know the ones I'm talking about. They're the ones you don't want to think about: you eat too much, exercise too little, drink too much. Your work sucks because you do boring shit for a living. Maybe your relationships are a nest of toxic vipers. You don't want to face the hard problems because facing them is hard. Getting rid of them is even harder, and might take real sacrifice.

Swatting problems takes effort, after all. You have a certain amount of time and willpower each day to deal with them. Time you spend fixing shit which is minor (or even beneficial, if you look at it the right way), is time you're not spending on crushing the serious problems.

You fix the small stuff while ignoring the big things and the big things get worse and worse. You fix the big things and suddenly you have a great deal more energy and time freed up to think about the small things.

I've spent much of my life crushing big things in my life which stress me out. I'm finally at a place where I can prioritize on smaller things, mull over whether they're problems which actually increase my comfort zone or create the possibility of interesting things farther on down my life. Some I swat, some I don't, but I'm rather strategic about the whole affair these days.

Of course, a more reasonable person would simply call in the exterminator and have them deal with your fruit fly problem. Metaphors only go so far, I guess.

And now I want to haul out my copy of Alice In Chain's Jar Of Flies. Something about Sundays apparently makes me nostalgic for flannel and grunge, I guess.

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