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Problems, Obstacles and How they Differ

We’re back in St. Simons, Ga. after traveling clear across the country to Tucson, Arizona and then down to San Carlos, Mexico. The trip helped to clarify what direction we’ll be heading in the ‘near’ future and illuminate new obstacles that we’ll have to overcome.

I don’t want to say ‘problems’ because it’s probably not a problem for someone that has more experience than us dealing with these issues. It’s only a problem for us because we’ve never been faced with this situation.

There’s a saying,

One man feels that his 50 foot yacht is a problem and another man feels that taking out his trash is a problem but both feel sincerely the same. Which problem would you rather have?

Many times we confuse problems with obstacles. To me, a problem is something that is broken that needs to be fixed. The lawnmower might have a problem. There’s a problem with the house trim and it needs to be painted (sadly true for the house in St. Simons).

While an obstacle is simply a matter of changing course or gaining a greater understanding of the issue. Learning how to sail is an obstacle that can be overcome. Learning how to anchor, how to navigate, how to drive a car, how to balance your checkbook, are all obstacles that can be overcome through education.

One could argue that it is the same with problems. Learn how to fix the lawnmower or become a painter. But the distinction between a problem and an obstacle involves a physical object versus a skill or experience.

We currently have some problems and we also have some obstacles. The problems we can fix simply with time and money. The obstacles take emotional effort and some amount of dedication to persevere .

Which one is harder? I guess it depends on your outlook.

We’re in the ‘doldrums’ right now. Hilary has doctors appointments every two weeks now for the baby and I’m anxiously waiting to find out about the potential movie gig that is supposed to start in September.

We can’t go far or fast, but I need to start earning some cash for the piggy bank. I’m placing an inordinant amount of hope on the movie gig coming through. I should know ‘something’ this week. Based on that information I can plan accordingly. If the movie starts in a month or so I can fill in short gaps with remodeling work in Atlanta. In the event the movie gig looks like a no-go, We have some tough choices to make. Do we pack up and head west early or do we stay here until the baby is born. Both have unique obstacles. If we stay, I have to hustle to find work to fill the time and we lose the opportunity to rent the house during our stay. If we go, we have to fill out a bunch of paperwork to find a doctor and qualify for insurance to have the baby in Arizona- and then I have to find a job to bring in some cash.

Sometimes life feels like a big decision tree chart.

‘IF’ this happens ‘THEN’ this can happen ‘ELSE’ this happens.

I deplore waiting for circumstance to make decisions for me. Time and time again, opportunity presents itself in unique ways when I make decisions and take action. Waiting has provided me with little satisfying result.

The doldrums never last long. It’s best to take the time to rest and recuperate while you can. The peace and quiet seem like a faint memory when you’re knee deep in the storms of life.

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2 comments to Problems, Obstacles and How they Differ

  • Damon B

    It’s only “the doldrums” if you say it is.

  • big cheese

    True, it is a state of mind. We are enjoying the time back on the island, I’m just not making any money. Which can make you a little edgy after awhile. I get a little stir crazy after about a week of sitting still.

    Things are so tight financially, we just hold our breath and sit very still to avoid spending a dime :)