How many times has life caught you off guard? How many times have you been left with your mind saying, “whoops, what now?”
This weekend a friend called me needing $200 cash. It wasn’t for her, it was for another friend who’d found himself in a “whoops, what now?” situation. Her friend is a normal, successful businessman who has too much on his mind, doesn’t focus on much for any length of time, and lives by the, It- happens-only-to-them,-not-me rule. Well, it happened to him: he was trailblazing through snow drifts, at dusk, 10 miles from a “major” road, and slid off a snow bank. Now what? Well, once rescued late Saturday night, he had to get his jeep towed out of nowhere on Sunday: $700 – cash! (No negationing this one!) This man didn’t plan on needing that much cash, and he didn’t have his PIN for a credit card! Now, really! This is where my friend comes to the rescue, but…she was only allowed $500 cash from her account; this is where my $200 came in. Everyone and the jeep are safely home !
The moral: remember your PIN number! Make it simple for you to keep it in your head with all the other numbers we need to remember. Also, when you go off-road hiking, biking, skiing, or jeeping, make plans for the unexpected. Make certain there’s cell phone service to call for help, someone at “home” knows where you’re going, and when to expect you home.
I was appalled that this man had to ask for this kind of help from my buddy – and on a Sunday. Then again, I’ve probably done the something similiar in the past too. Not even probably… I know I have. Our brains are flooded with numbers for this, numbers for that; details for this, details for that; and focus, focus, focus for multi-tasking daily events – even on weekends. How do we keep ourselves out of trouble? I don’t think we can – 100 percent of the time. Even the most brilliant, the highest paid and the most experienced adults find themselves in a “Whoops, what now?” situation. We can’t plan for everything, but we can be prepared.
That preparation consists of knowing whom you can call when you’re in trouble. Do you have the phone numbers – memorized? direct-dial? I landed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia expecting to be met by my client, as I had been the previous times. I’m traveling alone to a strict Muslim country; I needed to have a male escort and driver there when I arrived. Not to be. The story takes several turns, but I not only didn’t have my client’s phone number, I also didn’t have enough money, know the exchange rate, or know how I could get myself to the hotel. (I’d been there twice before, so I had expectations.) This was a huge, “Whoops, what now?” situation: an unaccompanied American woman with no escort to get her to her destination. I was beyond flummoxed, to say the least – close to tears. (My driver arrived just when I was stepping into a taxi to take me to the Marriott. Saved!)
I’ve traveled around the world by myself, why didn’t I have a phone number or enough money to get me to my hotel? I know what to do when I travel overseas, but…! It could happen to you too. You could get caught unprepared. It’s not just travel, it’s every day occurences.
Have you ever reached for your wallet and found that the wallet stayed at home? Have you ever charged your meal on your debit or credit card only to find that it’s been rejected and you don’t have enough cash? Have you ever been stranded with no cell phone? Have you ever been so overwhelmed that you stood someone up at the restaurant? If not, then you are too perfect, or you’ve been quarantined for life. Maybe you’re not trouble-proned like some of us, but, I believe that each of us has gotten into trouble through no fault of our own. It’s character building as the saying goes.
I have learned who knows how many life lessons; I keep learning. Some are hard lessons to learn, but I’m still alive and thriving – for the most part. When trouble knocks on your forehead, relax and breathe first, then focus on what can be done, what’s in your control. People want to help us, even when we’ve screwed up. I know, I’ve been there. My snow bank was just a different snow bank. And you?
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