The Snowpocalypse, Decision Making , Risk Taking.
The weather channel was reporting a potential disaster as Thursday approached. A snow storm was coming. They called it “The Snowpocalypse.”
“Heavy snowfall could make travel difficult to impossible, Winter Storm Warning issued.”
The snowfall would occur during the night and the AM rush hour on Friday morning. You may recall that I retired from my private practice in January of this year. However, I still work three days a week with the underserved in a town about 90 miles away from my home. Two of those days I provide services via a video link, but on Fridays, I drive to Rockford Illinois and provide services face to face.
I decided to walk this morning, despite un-shoveled sidewalks. Initially, it didn’t seem too bad, but after a few blocks I started to feel the strain. It was like I was hiking in a swimming pool.I arrived at my Starbucks and chatted with the barista and the one other patron who was brave enough to come out on this snowy day. As I type this my calves ache. Soon I will need to return back home and ready myself for the day. I am already exhausted.
I had to make a decision yesterday. I felt that it would likely be unsafe to drive to Rockford. I could take the day off, but that would inconvenience many. I could use my Cisco Telepresence video system to provide services by video, but one site that I go to in person does not have this capability.
By 1 PM Thursday I was in contact with the nurse manager of that site, and soon I was contacting IT in between my patients. Crap, the stress of complex multi-tasking. It has never been a strong suit of mine. The original technical solution that I came up with was inadequate for my needs. By the end of the workday it was decided to try a different video platform to reach that campus. That conference system is now in place, but not tested. I guess I’ll find if it works soon enough.
Yesterday’s workday ended and I drove to our local teen center to pick up two of my kids. They volunteer there, mentoring younger teens. They were jubilant as they entered my car as school had been canceled for Friday. We collectively decided to not cook dinner and went to Portillo’s instead. An Italian beef for me, extra juicy with sweet peppers.
“Should we get some emergency food supplies?” I asked. “Yes!” they both responded. The plan was to turn the storm into an adventure. A trip to the grocer followed and we grabbed our personal essentials: peanut butter for me, applesauce for Will, and Gracie made sure we had enough Philadelphia Cream Cheese. We prepared for anything.
Did I make the right decision by staying home? My decision will inconvenience some people, but I will be able to provide services without putting my life at risk. Yet, I wonder if I reacted too strongly to the weather warnings. It is likely that I could have driven to Rockford, but I’ll never know that now. I played it safe and made a decision that provided an assured outcome, rather than a riskier but possibly better outcome. I am not a risk taker.
My decision making about the snowstorm typifies my general stance in life. I have tended to choose less risky choices, which I then modify to maximize their potential. It has worked pretty well for me, but I sometimes wonder if I would have accomplished more in my life if I was more of a risk taker. Now that I am retiring I want to take some risks, but I’m having trouble knowing how to break my lifelong pattern. I have made a few inroads, but they have been limited.
I wish I had spent more time in my life honing some of my other skills. I would like to be a better photographer, a better writer, more creative, more innovative. I still have a burning desire to do more, accomplish more, think beyond the norm, make change, correct social prejudice, leave the world just a tiny bit better. But when the metaphorical snow storm strikes I fall back on my old safe patterns. I know fear blocks me breaking through in some of the areas that I need to change the most.
What will my next step be? I talk to my wife about some aspects of it. I talk to my kids about some aspects of it. I talk to my friend Tom about some aspects of it. The general my goal is the same, but the specifics are different in each conversation. I want to grow personally. I want to rid myself of past baggage. I want to be productive and creative. I want to be a force of some sort. I do not want a life focused on self-indulgence.
One foot in front of the other. Ever moving forward. However, sometimes feeling like I’m trudging through deep snow in the process.