Working the Problem

work the problem
Something’s been on my mind lately…

I borrowed this from Matt Damon’s character in The Martian (good movie, BTW), and I think it works for me.

Work. The. Problem.

In the movie, Matt Damon’s astronaut character gets stranded on Mars during what was supposed to have been a routine space mission (aren’t they all?). Well, he gets accidentally left for dead, except that he’s still very much alive, but some of his equipment is broken and he can’t communicate with NASA or the crew of the spaceship 🚀 he traveled to Mars with.

Yeah, talk about a BAD day.

And the day turns to weeks, then months, then… At any rate, it was a really bad time for Matt Damon’s character.

One theme that pops up over and over again in the movie is the idea of working a problem.

What does that mean?

Well, if there’s a problem in front of you — like, say, being accidentally stranded on a hostile planet with very little food, no friends, no spaceship and no means of communication — first, you gotta keep it together (a.k.a. don’t freak out).

Then, you work toward solving the very first problem in front of you, and you keep working that first problem until it’s solved. Then you move on to solving the next problem, then the next, then the next one after that. Hopefully, after you’ve solved enough of the problems, you achieve whatever the larger goal is. In the case of The Martian, it was getting the heck off Mars.

I’ve been thinking about “working the problem” a lot lately because I’ve been trying to make headway on a couple of big projects — planning some large home repairs (we have a bathroom that needs repairs, carpet that should be replaced, some needed electrical repairs, etc.) and making some changes in my career. (Definitely not quitting blogging, though. I’m just trying to get something else going.)

I haven’t felt equipped to make big changes in my life for a few years (seriously, keeping a small child alive drains your life force in so many unexpected ways), but now that Connor is a little older, I finally feel like I have the strength and mental energy to do it.

Truth is though, while I desperately want to move my life forward, I still get easily overwhelmed, and that’s where working the problem comes in. I keep reminding myself to “just solve this one problem.” Keep working at that one thing until it’s done, and then move on to the next.

I just want to leave Mars and go back to earth! — so to speak.

Is making big changes that simple? No. I still carry enough mental baggage to employ a full-time valet! But I just keep whittling away at whatever the problem is in front of me. One at a time.

So that’s been on my mind lately…

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


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