The boat we keep at the island is named the SS Hassle. The process for buying it involved punching a hole in the side of it, patching that hole, buying a new motor because the first one stopped working, sleeping in the car for two nights because the new motor didn’t work either, and manually moving the boat a few hundred feet by sliding it over wood. Until that moment of pure euphoria, when we finally got it running, we lived in a world of frustration.
Since then, it’s run perfectly. We’ve used it to cross the harbor a few dozen times and, thanks to our neighbor fixing it up for us, it starts on the first pull every time. It’s deep and wide, so we can carry plenty of people or almost a thousand pounds of concrete (three times, in case you’re wondering).
I remember how frustrating it was trying to get the thing working, but only in a foggy third-person sort of way. My only real emotion associated with it is amusement, thinking about the comedy of errors that was our lives for three days.
When I think about the boat now, that whole episode is just a footnote. Mostly I think about how much I like our boat and how glad I am to have it.
That’s true of any struggles I’ve been through in my life. Breakups, that time I tried to hike the Andes by myself, being stuck in a cave in Austin, and all sorts of other things. They were trying at the time, but I always knew that they would become happy, or at least amusing, memories eventually.
We’ve all had these experiences. That’s not to say that there aren’t some truly awful things that result in real trauma, but the daily frustrations and trials we go through often morph into funny stories and lessons that we’re later happy to have.
The trick is to realize this as they’re happening. I’ve been described often as someone who stays unruffled, and that’s really my secret. No matter what’s happening, I just remind myself that with the perspective of time it’s not going to feel like a big deal. I try to imagine myself in the future, looking back. Will this really seem like a catastrophe then?
Think about it next time you’re working through something frustrating, tedious, or upsetting. Remember that in the future you’ll have no negative emotions around it, and that you may as well start now rather than wait to feel that way.
Pictured is the SS Hassle. You can see the fixed hole.
Spent the past week getting Vegas set up and livable. I have hot water now, internet, RO water, and a couch from which I’m typing this. Lots more to do, but it’s fully functional finally.