Who Can Help With What?

When you’re lost in a sea of problems, that is the question. I used to just sit in my boat, trying to calm the waves with my thoughts. Usually, it’d end in shipwreck. After days of frantic deliberation, my tiny dinghy would crack, and I’d be washed ashore, delirious from all the circular thinking. Meanwhile, my sadness and frustration would remain intact, so whichever kind villager I’d meet first on my deserted island, I’d just yell at them for failing to provide the help I never asked for.

Nowadays, at least in a good crisis (the irony), I’ll stop clutching my knees after a day and a half, take out my phone, and call for help – not from the cost guard but from my friends. I’ll think about the theme or core of each issue at hand and ask: “Who seems well-equipped to answer this?” An “answer,” by the way, need not be a solution. It’s enough if it’s an idea that starts a discussion. Instead of banging my head against the wall, I’ll talk through the problem over ice cream, and that alone is often enough to make me feel better.

Most of the time, my friends don’t offer band-aid style solutions, and most of the time, they don’t have to because eventually, the problem disappears. One way or another, time re- or dissolves everything. In the moment, it’s rarely about finding the perfect way forward. It’s about finding a way forward, ideally one without hyperventilating.

You can curse the sea for doing what the sea has always done, or you can call your mates, fix the ropes, and wait for the storm to pass. The sea will be here tomorrow either way, but your ship needn’t wreck when you have a crew ready to hold the barge together.