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Life lessons from a snowstorm

Jan 10, 2013 | Professional Life

I was fortunate enough to be able to travel back to Pennsylvania for the holidays again this year. While I’m not a huge fan of flying, it’s a short flight I’m willing to take. The family time, the Christmas Eve services, all that yummy food … I wouldn’t miss any of that for the world.

The one thing I could go without though? The snow.

This year, however, the weather had other plans. One day after safely arriving in my hometown, we were greeted by a foot of snow that had fallen overnight. Which was all well and good. The snow was beautiful for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

That is, until a blizzard decided to roll in the day after Christmas and drop another 10 inches of snow along with a whole lot of wind.

After deciding to delay my flight back to Nashville by a day, I remembered quite vividly why I moved south nearly three years ago.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy snow. And while I can’t say I miss it all that much now, growing up in an area that is frequently visited by lake effect snow for nearly half of every year did teach me a lot of valuable lessons, many of which came back into play through the Christmas storms this year.

And they’re not just weather lessons. They’re life lessons.

SnowBe flexible. Have a contingency plan …

It’s a general rule of thumb in the snowbelt region. Make your schedule, but already have a backup ready to go in case Plan A doesn’t work out. For me, this meant that even when I booked my return flight to Nashville, I built in an extra day, just in case the weather was too bad to get back to the airport. And it’s a good thing I did, because I needed that day.

… but expect the unexpected.

So, we thought we had it all figured out. I delayed my flight by 24 hours and we headed toward the airport, a nearly three hour trip. And it was a good move. The roads were in much better shape. What we weren’t expecting were the two traffic accidents that brought us to a complete stop on the interstate on the way there. It’s usually a very easy trip. This time, even without the weather conditions being a factor, we had other obstacles to overcome. (Yes, we did make it to the airport in plenty of time.)

Do we have contingency plans in place? What if things don’t go the way we’ve planned them?

Be patient.

Once I got to the airport and my parents were safely on their return trip back home, I headed to my gate, where I learned that my flight was going to be delayed. And then delayed again. And then delayed one more time. With all the weather issues the previous two days, there was catch-up work to do for all the stranded passengers. Patience was key as we were sitting in the terminal. Not everything in life works on our schedule. Sometimes, we just have to be patient and wait it out.

You can’t make everyone happy.

This one’s a tough one. Because of the weather issues, we didn’t get to have a Christmas brunch with one side of the family as the roads were too bad for any of us to drive to meet up. I missed seeing a cousin who was also in the area and I hadn’t seen in years. And I didn’t get a chance to drive down to Pittsburgh to reconnect with friends there either. These things happen. Especially when circumstances are out of your control. We made the best of what the weather dealt, and it was still an outstanding Christmas.

Don’t procrastinate.

I found myself preaching this after I finally did return home to Nashville … and the snow followed me. When it snows, especially at night, even though you’re nice and warm inside, you don’t want to wait to start cleanup. Once the snow stops, bundle up, go outside and start your car. Brush off the snow. Flip up your windshield wipers (so they don’t freeze to your windshield). Then head back inside. It’ll make your life much easier in the morning.

How many times do we procrastinate, especially when it’s something we don’t want to do? Isn’t it better once we’ve just gotten it over with … and doesn’t it (usually) make things easier down the road?

Slow down.

Yep, this would seem to be obvious in snow, but for whatever reason, that’s not always true. In my hometown, people get around just fine, even though the roads are completely snowcovered. Why? Because they’re used to it. They know to simply drive slowly and they’ll get where they need to be. How many times do we rush through something to move on to the next thing? Is it worth slowing down and taking your time instead?

Yes, despite the travel changes and the unexpectedly bumpy flight back to Nashville, it was a good Christmas.

And yes, I’ve re-learned the mantra: Snow. Is. Pretty.

Or something. Heh.


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