I decided the other morning that I didn’t need coffee for my 90-minute commute. I’m still a fairly new coffee drinker, having found this magical elixir only about six months ago. (I’m one of those late adopters).
After three days of no alarms and total gluttony from a long weekend, I braved the LA traffic with little sleep and no caffeine. I quickly realized the error of my ways, when the audiobook I was listening to began to drone and my eyelids began to feel heavy.
It’s funny how quickly we become dependent on things to help get us through life.
Coffee. Alcohol. Carbs.
Those are my big three right now.
Just as with coffee, I was a late bloomer. I began drinking alcohol at the age of 34. Carbs, I’ve loved all my life. From burying my face in a sugary cake or pastry to depending on pizza and ice cream to get me through my divorce. Carbs made me feel good, if only for a moment, and then it made me gain weight and feel bad.
I’m not the only one that uses band-aids (or ice cream) to solve problems. During the Great Depression, moving pictures became the big escape for people, driving masses to the cinema to escape their problems for an hour or two. What is your band-aid?
But these are just mere band-aids in this road called life. Coffee, alcohol, carbs, running, movies, whatever you feel like you need to soothe some of life’s zingers all are temporary fixes. They may feel good for a little while and give you a temporary reprieve, but the effect is short-lived and the problem remains long after the sugar rush/caffeinated energy/runner’s high. A band-aid may stop the bleeding for a while, but band-aids don’t heal, white blood cells do (or whatever blood cells – I didn’t really pay attention during anatomy and physiology).
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The only solution to a problem is to be brave and work through the very thing you are trying to escape from. To face the beast head-on, to confront it, to learn from it, and to move past it.
I tried to run away from my problems for an entire year after my divorce. I metaphorically took a Costco sized-box of band-aids to try and soothe a major wound. I was bleeding out and no amount of band-aids, partying, alcohol, shopping, or cookies was going to fix it. It took some surgery (of many of my former friends), some stitching up (through self-development) and a whole lot of forgiveness (of myself and others) before I began to heal. Now there is a faint scar – a reminder of the struggle and pain it took to get to where I am today.
There are no shortcuts, no magic elixirs, not even a permanent solution. The only way through a problem is through it and that method is also one of the most difficult. But when you choose to face life’s struggles head on, you do gain something that cannot ever be taken away: resilience, knowledge, and a strength you may have never believed you had.
If you’re currently struggling with something, put down the coffee/carbs/whiskey/whatever band-aid you’re using to avoid it, and face it head-on. You’ll not only get through it faster but you’ll be stronger for it in the end.