“If it’s not one thing, it’s another.”

Sounds so cynical. But it’s true. Life is not meant to be problem-free. Somehow, we indoctrinated this idea that by solving all our problems, or even solving the one problem that we are focused on in this moment, then we will be happy. That is, until we focus on the many other problems we have. Or a new problem arises after solving the immediate problem, trading one problem for another.

Face it, life is a series of problems. There’s no way around it. Happiness is a feeling, not a state to be achieved once our problems are resolved. 

So, what are we to do about this endless carousel of problems, going ‘round and ‘round to a mind-numbing tune?

1. Change our expectation from surprise (Why me? Why again?) to acceptance. A problem-free life does not exist. If we can acknowledge this truth, then we have one less problem.

2. Choose your problems. Yes, there are some problems that are better to have than others. Some problems are temporary necessities toward a greater good (raising a child) while others are self-created stupidities (credit card debt).

3. Enjoy the ride. The juice of life does not await once our problems are solved – for we’ve already figured out that such is not gonna happen. But life’s satisfaction exists despite a back-drop of problems. In the cracks and crannies, in the moment to moment, problems can be the background while delight our stolen highlight.

Go back to our carousel. We’re spinning around, problems aren’t stopping. But despite their perpetuity, our horse goes up and down, providing amusement with an unexpected smile.

Joy is possible.

Besides, the colorful carousel is the only ride available. It’s what we do while solving problems that makes our life sweet.