I learned to drive in Michigan. And if you learn to drive in Michigan, you sure better learn how to drive in the winter. If you find yourself stuck – and you will – there are a few different ways to deal with it:

  1. Wait it out until Spring – or until someone comes to your rescue
  2. Try to figure out how to get out of your predicament
  3. Call someone who can help

As I think about where I am today in my life, in light of my pandemic-induced new life and lifestyle, I realize that all of this comes nicely into play and can be very much adapted for good use. Here is how:

  1. Wait it out

I must say, back in March this sounded like an excellent idea. How bad could it be? I could get used to becoming best friends with my couch, TV & that enormous pile of books I previously never had time to read. And then, when this “thing” was over, I could go back to where I left off. 

We know how that one goes…

The waiting game is just that: a game. The solution is not clear or easy. And going back to “the way it was” is impossible. Time marches on, things change and nothing really goes back to its previous iteration. To expect that “when this is over”, things will return to the way they used to be, is an unrealistic expectation and sets you up for, at the very least, a great deal of disappointment. 

Waiting for someone to rescue you is something else. It could be your best choice. Or it could never happen. So, it leads to the next one….

2. Figure out how to get out

Now here is where the experience of Michigan – and Vermont – winters comes in handy. I learned that if you are stuck in the snow, what you need to do is rock yourself out. In other words, in order to go forward, you must first go backwards. It’s a bit like the “2 steps forward, one step back” analogy. It’s in the going back that you gain some momentum for going forward.

How that looked in my life was allowing myself time to do nothing. I needed it. And then I’d do a little something, feel exhausted, and allow myself to rest again. The next time I’d try something else, I’d have a little more energy and drive – or not. I made it all ok. But had I just continued to push, push, push, it would have been futile, and I probably would have found myself in an even bigger predicament. It really was when I allowed for the “going backwards”, that I had what it took to move forward again.

And that brings me to #3:

3. Call someone to help

I am both blessed and cursed with the stubbornness to want to figure things out on my own. MOST times this is a really fabulous quality. But when a dear friend gently suggested maybe I talk to someone about a situation I had just droned on about for the millionth time, I realized she was right. We don’t know what we don’t know. And getting fresh eyes, fresh ideas, a sounding board, a teacher, a guide and a someone to show you a light out of your darkness, is a true blessing. 

When your car is stuck, you try to figure it out by yourself, until you can’t,  and then you call for help. Why not do the same for yourself?

And just to finish out my winter analogies – which, by the way, I am reveling in and wishing for a nice cold front to come whipping through about now – here’s one last thing to think about: Snow Days

What is the best thing about Snow Days? A break in the routine. You don’t HAVE to DO anything, because nobody can! Exhale and relax and enjoy the moment. (If you want to know how wonderful snow days are, don’t ask a kid – ask a teacher!!)

What’s the worst thing about Snow Days? When they drone on and on and on. When your patience and supplies start wearing thin. Enough already – when can we get back to normal?

How to survive seemingly unending Snow Days? Figure out what you’ve got, what you need, and how to make the best of the situation. Be creative. Look at the situation from a different perspective. Find some joy. And ask for help if you need it. 

Snow Days/No School Days/COVID-19 Days: Whatever you call it, the answers are the same. Take a breath, take it in, and take on what makes sense. Take a step back, and then 2 forward. 

Rock on!