When my daughter was 28 months old and still in a crib, she created her personal Family Story of Legend, the one that is oft told over the years. I heard her cry in the middle of the night and got up and went into her room. There she was, standing and holding onto the rail of her crib, with little sad tears running down her face.

Me: What’s wrong?

MissTwo: (sniffling) I have issues.

Me: (stifling the loudest burst of a laugh possible) Ohhh. (burfpfffff) Well, what are your issues?

MissTwo: (big lipping) I. Don’t. (sniff)Feeeeeeeel welllllll.

Me: Oh, I am sorry. I will get you something.

So, waiting until I was out of her sight to giggle at her word choice, I got her some infant cold medicine for her little fever and runny nose and her issues were solved, at least for a few hours. If all issues were so easily dealt with.

I have an opinion about issues. Actually, I have many opinions about issues and I think I will combine those opinions here into an Issues Theory/Plan Of Action. I am glad to make some use out of my undergraduate-level Psych degree, which in the real world only qualifies me to attend to the drooling: infants at day care or elders at end care, for minimum wage. College for the win!

Everyone has issues, of every conceivable kind and level of severity. Life is odd and complicated, no matter where you live or what you do, and at some point you are going to have to attend with the fallout of Complicated Life overtaking your everyday ability to DEAL. There’s no shame in that at all. Even cool laid-back wise cats like the Dalai Lama and Barack Obama have to deal with the outcome of their issues (Mr. President, I am looking at you with the SMOKING). So, if we accept the fact that we are going to have issues, then we must realize that issues have to be dealt with, yes? But, because people are people and issues can be painful and overwhelming to think about, Not Dealing With Issues is more common than Dealing. And the outcomes from Not Dealing are often not recognized either. But your brain, that awesome powerful thing, will one way or the other, make you accountable for whatever you are not consciously working out, whether it’s generalized anxiety, insomnia, headaches, sadness, weird anger bursts, a sore back, Republicanism, you name it. So be pissed at your brain, not me. Bah.

Actually trying to resolve/fix your issues that negatively affect your life is a process. I will outline this process now:

1. Accept: You have Issues, and are not as happy, healthy, or fulfilled as you would like to be. Accepting this is recognizing that YOU have to take responsibility for them, and not blame whatever it is on anyone or anything else, no matter the unfairness that has been dealt to you. You cannot escape getting crapped on, but you don’t have to just stand there and whine about it, or ignore it while it stinks worse and worse over time. You should clean your damn self off, for all our sakes’, Smelly.

2. Commit: You can absolutely accept that you have issues, and then absolutely never DO anything about it, too. This is where people languish, for years or a lifetime. You know something is wrong, but it seems too daunting to make things better for yourself. You may not even know where to start, just that things are wrong. Fortunately, people have two other qualities that also are as universal as having Issues – Hope and Resiliency. Even the crustiest character will have some spark of these, the things that keep you going, even if you don’t know that either. Mine those qualities in you, and you have the strength you need to commit to working on your issues to solve them, no matter how long or difficult the process. There is no one else that can do this for you, no “if only” situation that will change YOU.

3. Process: The meat of the deal. There are a lot of different ways to get at a problem, and I mean truly get at it, not gloss over it or medicate it or substance it temporarily away. It depends on who you are and what the problems are. You have to identify, deconstruct, and keep digging away until you get to the bottom line of why something has caused such a problem for you and why you have allowed it to control part or all or your life in a negative way. It is my completely unqualified opinion that you must ATTACK issues. Do not wimp out – go straight for the THROAT and hang on until it DIES. DIE DIE DIE, ISSUE, DIE! If you do less than that, this all takes so much longer. I don’t know if you can meander your way through problems. For me, going into traditional psychoanalysis is just committing to 10-20 YEARS of meandering and depleting your bank account, which could cause more issues for sure. Life is short. Find your answers faster and enjoy the time you have left, MO BETTA. Take the harder hit to the self-image, and move on. Talk to a shrink, a patient and wise friend, or to yourself. Read some books, stories about how others have dealt with issues like yours, and their good or poor outcomes. You can find your answers. You must keep at it. Don’t give up.

4. Change: Steps 1-3 should have set you up to at least know what is going on with you, where it came from, and how you let it get to you. But unless you commit to changing things, inside your head or outside in the world, your issues will keep bubbling back like a pesky lava-spewing volcano, burning your hair at times or consuming you when you least expect it. You are indeed doomed to repeat your history unless you consciously change the way you are thinking and dealing. But it is never too late to do SOMETHING. I promise.

This might seem overly simple and pat, because it is. This is a blog, not a book, damn you people. And it’s time to go to the drive-in for dinner. But think about it, will you? 'Cause it’s all true and stuff.

MissSix’s issue now is finding a pair of sandals to wear that match her dress. I can't assure she won't have an anxiety disorder later in life, but I can help her find her shoes. College, for the win.