Why don’t we fix things anymore?

It was a rough Friday for me. Mid day a friend told me about his mother’s diagnosis of late stage pancreatic cancer. We were at work and tearing apart. I told him he should see the bright side. He has time to see it through. Spend her last moments with her. He has an opportunity to serve. Some of us are so undeserving that we don’t even get a day’s notice. I shared with him that grief takes its own shape and form. We all find our ways of grieving. There is no one right way. We just need to let the family heal. Each of them will have their own ways of reacting and responding. Don’t judge them. Just be with them. And let them release. That’s all you can do.

Immediately after that conversation I had a few meetings that I completely ruined. I was grieving and I didn’t have a release. I was choking and all I could do was vent out my frustration on whoever would listen. I didn’t pick my audience. I didn’t have the time.

My frustration was with our attitude to replace instead of fix. When a blender breaks down, we replace it. When a human does not function, we cannot replace them. We try to fix them. Not everything is fixable. And cancer is one such thing. But other than that, we give our best to fix .

But time and again I see that not happening. Be it in interpersonal relationships, sometimes marriages and sometimes just systems. I know you need to evaluate the ROI of the time spent on fixing vs replacing. But can we try? I mean it’s not cancer that we are talking about.

This happens a lot to me. I am almost always the solitary reaper in the fixer camp. I work with my flaws and try to fix them. I fix people’s problems. I fix relationships. I fix teams. I am not in for the clutter. But I do not replace until I have given it my best. Perhaps I should. It might save me some time.

I was so upset with my environment due to such a mix of things that I missed Tara’s friendship party at school. I made a resolve to not miss events at her school. And I failed.

So when I reached home in the evening, I didn’t have any strain of joy left in me to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I just wanted to sleep and not talk. But that’s not what I did. I fixed my day.

We drove to Los Altos for cupcakes and coffee, at Sweet Diplomacy, and enjoyed a surprisingly delicious meal at Urfa Bistro . The Turkish coffee at the end of the meal made me swallow my bitterness for the world at large. I forgave myself, and all those who don’t fix and slept for 10 hours straight, like a baby, after a long time.

My severe optimism makes me a fixer. It’s not a disease. But when you have learnt to seek optimism from death, you cannot turn your back to mere mortals.

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