A Problem a Day

Problems are like Pokémon: They disappear out of nowhere and challenge you to a fight. Sometimes, the problem is actually shy. It’ll run away at the first sign that you intend to fight back. Sometimes, it’ll be like an aggressive stray animal. It’ll move in with you and stay for weeks, uninvited. And sometimes, it’ll make you put up the fight of your life.

Back when I started playing Pokémon, it took forever to catch all 151 of them. Today, with over 1,000? Good luck. You can’t solve all your problems in a day, but every day, you can solve a problem. Sure, apples will boost your health, but it’s a problem a day that, ironically, keeps unhappiness at bay.

Often, the harder the problem you choose, the happier you’ll be. Why? If you’re a seasoned Pokémon trainer, you’ll know the toughest fights — trying to catch a legendary bird, for example — feel the most rewarding when you finally win. Humans made to solve problems, and the more complex the creative solution we get to build, the prouder we’ll be once it works.

At other times, it’ll be you fleeing from the fight. Trainers, too, can run away. Just because apples are healthy doesn’t mean you’ll want to eat one every day. Problems, too, are something we can take breaks from, if only for a little while.

On most days, however, you won’t live in either of these extremes, and that’s as it should be: A Pokémon trainer roaming the world, encountering a few new monsters a day, fighting some, fleeing from others, and perhaps catching no more than one a day. It’s the spirit of journeying that matters more so than the result: Can you stay excited for the next challenge? Are you able to balance struggle and recovery?

Just like Pokémon inhabit the whole world, everyone has problems. Perhaps, like the little monsters many of us love so much, they’re not something we must seek to eliminate altogether. Maybe, it is just about getting along. Live in harmony with your problems, not against them, and life will be more fun than any game could ever be.