walking on custard

The One Answer to All Our Problems

8 Jun 2016

Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

The one, single answer which will solve all my problems.

I just need one last insight, and everything will click into place and make sense.

It must exist.

Occasionally somebody else has the one answer. They advertise it.

I need to learn it from them.

Sometimes I read the one answer in a book. It sinks into gaps in my brain like sand filling space around stones.

I’ve always known it to be true.

Sometimes I realise the one answer myself. I laugh.

Of course.

It was within me all along.

Each one answer fits… for a while.

I slot the final piece into place and complete the puzzle. At last, I can see everything.

But – selfishly – my problems scorn this clear and obvious truth. They don’t appear to realise I’ve discovered the one answer which solves them all.

Sometimes when this happens I push my problems down deeply within, clinging desperately to my one answer.

It must be true. It must be enough.

Other times, I let go without a fight.

I need a new one answer.

No false answer has yet shaken my faith. The one answer must exist.

I change my diet; I change my routine; I think positive thoughts; I convert my religion; I fix my relationship; I rebuild my environment; I meditate; I alter my beliefs; I love myself.

None of those were the one answer.

You might wonder – did those false answers not help? Did none of them bring any improvement?

And, if I noticed, I might say that yes, they did. Each made a contribution. Each helped.

But do not distract me from my search.

I don’t want many hard answers. I want any easy answer.

I’ll find the one answer yet.

Neil Hughes

Neil Hughes is the author of Walking on Custard & the Meaning of Life, a comical and useful guide to life with anxiety, and The Shop Before Life, a tale about a magical shop which sells human personality traits.

Along with writing more books, he spends his time on standup comedy, speaking about mental health, computer programming, public speaking and everything from music to video games to languages. He struggles to answer the question "so, what do you do?" and is worried that the honest answer is probably "procrastinate."

He would like it if you said hello.

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