2022: The Year of Better Problems

It’s about time I embraced more negativity in my life; it’s about time I cared a little less.

Don’t worry, everyone. I haven’t lost it just yet. This is not a blog about complacency or pessimism, but rather a much-needed switch in perspective on an exciting and terrifying time in my life.

This year for our annual family Christmas book exchange, my dad gave me The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**K by Mark Manson. A few paragraphs in, I realized this book is exactly what I need to be reading at exactly this moment.

Manson’s “counterintuitive approach to living a good life” is all about putting your time and energy into what’s valuable and productive, and disregarding what isn’t. It’s also about embracing the fact that life at its very core is problematic. Regardless of what choices we make, we will always encounter problems. The trick is persuing the better problems, the productive ones. The failures, kick-downs and ruts that cultivate opportunity.

Self-awareness is like an onion. There are multiple layers to it, and the more you peel them back, the more likely you’re going to start crying at inappropriate times

Mark Manson

Manso writes: “Let’s be clear: the goal shouldn’t be to live a problem-free life. There is no such thing as a problem-free life. How could it be? The very act of staying alive and healthy is a forever shape-shifting landscape of compiling problems that confront us afresh every minute of every day. So, what is the goal then?

Well, if we’re going to live a problem-filled life regardless of what we do, then the goal should be to live a life filled with the “best” problems we can manage to align ourselves with. In other words, we should work to exchange and/or upgrade “worse” problems for “better” options whenever we can.”

This definitely feels like the year of better problems 🙂

For over four years now, I’ve been living and working as a journalist in Bratislava, Slovakia. I entered this formative chapter of my life without much thought. There were no pro-con lists, hardly any soul-searching. I got the official offer to work for The Slovak Spectator in October 2017 and moved to Bratislava the following month. It was an easy decision, this life-changing choice, and I have absolutely no regrets 🙂 Bratislava is where I met the love of my life, after all. And the first-hand experience I’ve gotten editing and writing for an English-language newspaper abroad with no prior experience has been fantastic.

But for a while now, my fiance and I have known it’s time to move on. Slovakia has become too comfortable and carving out a life worth writing about when you are living in absolute comfort without many challenges is a challenge in itself. For me, life as a foreigner in Slovakia has been truly remarkable, and my daily efforts to find my way in this strange and wonderful place have led to immense personal growth and self-awareness. Personal improvement isn’t always easy to see, but after reading this quote in Manson’s book and totally relating to it, I’m starting to recognize it in myself: “Self-awareness is like an onion. There are multiple layers to it, and the more you peel them back, the more likely you’re going to start crying at inappropriate times.”

So true ( and thank goodness I’m not the only one).

I’ll be leaving the Spectator soon and closing out this chapter a little sooner than I had planned, but it’s a blessing, a necessary kick in the behind. It’s time to pursue some better problems.

So in the coming months, Misko and I shall plan, save, and apply, apply, apply for jobs as we prepare for our big move to… the US!! We had originally planned on the UK, but it looks like a few years somewhere in the US is the logical and most fruitful next step (more on this later).

My life never goes as planned, and thank goodness for that ❤

So I hope you’ll join me in raising a glass to the year of better problems and crying at inappropriate times.

Much love,

Anna

PS: The cover photo was taken on top of the Marlow Profile, one of my favorite spots in my hometown, during the Christmas break. So peaceful, right?

10 Comments

  1. Chasing Delight

    Hey Anna! Happy New Year! I can completely relate to everything you have written. A and I are also in the middle of deciding what to do next. I’ll be back in Bratislava in February and if you are still around it would be nice to grab a coffee and catch up. Wishing you all the best on your new adventures!

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  2. Rachelle

    A great post, Anna! I really liked this. As I’ve examined myself more deeply over the last few years, crying has become a near daily occurrence (as evidenced by my random outburst of tears when we were hiking in the woods – HAH!). I feel this will also be a year of better problems for me. I never would have thought to phrase it that way, but it’s definitely true. I feel like the energy for 2022 involves stepping through a door into new chapters, adventures, and ways of being, while letting the past integrate and seep in. Only time will tell what’s in store! Excited to hear more from you as you make the transition. 😀

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