Once again it took another blogger’s post to motivate me to post something myself… and here it is.
Some people think I’m awesome. Some even think that because I work at a company people generally associate with phone making, I know how to fix their phones. The latter couldn’t be more mistaken.
I have a phone that keeps switching off at random moments during the day. Low or fully charged, it just keeps doing that. I thought about replacing it with a new one but then again, it’s a good phone. It works like a phone should, it just switches off sometimes. Also, it cost an amount I’d never paid for a phone before. And you know the story about sunk costs.
As I find it switched off for the n-th time during a day, I usually just think “oh, well” and don’t go on with any heavy rant about life, coping with difficulties and stuff… but let me have it just this once.
In the ideal world where I am a highly skilled phone fixer, I’d fix that phone myself. I like fixing things. It gives me an incredible sense of pride and power, greater even than any little neo-Nazi piece of shit can imagine.
But it rarely happens: I’m no phone fixer, and as far as other things go, no one ever taught me how to fix them either. So my skills are rather lousy, and my attempts at fixing things — clumsy and frequently inefficient.
Still, I believe in fixing. Don’t know where that comes from — if I was a diligent student of life, I’d be happy to accept things as they are without trying to fix them. But some time ago, I decided to fuck this and be a creative student instead.
A creative student deals with problems by trying a variety of solutions and inventing new ones if the old ones don’t work; gets into uncomfortable situations due to this silly inventiveness; fails exams that are easy to pass for anyone with some degree of self-neglect.
There are things that nettle me much more than my silly phone, and I spend a lot of time thinking about how to fix them. Simple things, all of them. I think about how to make getting out of the bed in the morning easier. Where to find enthusiasm for my translation studies. What to do to stop feeling low.
These are all simple and private things, which is one of the reasons why I won’t share any of my solutions with you here. Chances are they wouldn’t fit your problems/personality/temper anyway. The other reason, hinted at above, is that they’re not very good solutions.
So this post won’t be about sharing my awesome experience with self-fixing. It will be about one fundamental principle of fixing anything, which I finally formulated for myself some time ago after much self-reflection and people-watching.
There are two ways of fixing a thing that makes you dissatisfied, both generally recognized as valid paths to improvement. One is to try and actually fix that thing. It requires a hell of a lot of thinking. Before you do any fixing, you need to identify what it is that makes you so unhappy. Is it the weather? Come on, it’s never really just the weather. Is it a shortage of positive experiences? If so, why is that the case? Is it too much work? Then think about why you are doing this to yourself. Is it someone who promised to call but didn’t? Just coming to an answer to the “What is wrong?” question is extremely hard work in itself.
Then, there’s the fixing part, which may turn out even more difficult. Try to find a non-stupid, effective and long-lasting solution to your dissatisfaction that doesn’t make anyone else unhappy in the process. Ha! Shit’s difficult, there’s no denying. So you find a stupid one, one that doesn’t really work in spite of all your effort, one that works only for a while, or one that hurts somebody. I guess that’s the necessary risk to be taken when you decide to fix something by yourself: your solutions are shit.
The other way to fix things is to replace them with new ones. It’s quick. It’s in the ads. You can do it if you don’t know any better. Sounds perfect, huh? The drive to acquire new stuff, aggressively encouraged by everyone who has something to sell… The “dump him” advice that a friend gives you off the top of her head… The objects, careers, hobbies, courses, people and fucking aquarium fish [*] that you throw out of your life to quickly replace them with new ones, hanging on the promise of their novelty…
I’m not saying it’s all bad, or that it doesn’t ever work. I suppose replacement might be the best of possible ideas in some cases. But I’m suspicious of this idea. I’m afraid of rushing to something new to replace the old too quickly. I feel bad about the unused resources we all have at our disposal to try and really fix the things that make us unsatisfied.
So the principle I’m holding on to is to avoid replacing, and focus on the possibilities that are there to fix things. To fix ourselves, too.
And believe me, it’s not so difficult to hold on to that principle. For me, the things I most often feel the need to fix, the ones I’m most often dissatisfied with, are my lousy mood and lack of concentration. So there’s not much I can do other than trying to fix myself. What can I do, buy a new brain? Come off it man, that’s illegal and wouldn’t work anyway. Plus, there’s the pride factor that I mentioned earlier. So be warned, neo-Nazis, I’m trespassing your domain. Feeling more and more pride every day in my shitty fixing skills.
And a final word to the readers: sorry if I let down your expectations of something more conclusive to come at the end. Hope I gave you food for thought, though.
Have a good day,
[*] My father threw my brother’s aquarium fish into the toilet when they were ill. It happened some ten years ago but I still can’t forget it.