Blizzard 2010: What Several Tons of Snow Teach You About Life

Here in Pittsburgh they are calling it the Blizzard of 2010, Snowlapalooza, Snowpocalypse, snowmaggedon, snOMG or the tsnownami – and it has gotten international attention. For me the drama was relatively limited as I watched the snow fall from inside up at Seven Springs, a ski resort outside of Pittsburgh. True we were snowed in for several days, had to hike out from the house in waist deep snow to get the kids to their ski race and had to be dug out by a bucket loader but all-in-all our experience was pretty tame.

The stories from friends were more serious – car accidents, kids having to sleep in the car in a parking lot, having to hike miles in the thigh-deep snow in dress shoes to get home, being without power for days, some of our staff even had to sleep in our store because they couldn’t make it the short distance to sleep at our house…those stories are far more intense than my own and make for great ‘remember-when’s’.
Now that the kids are back in school after being out for as much as a week in some cases there is time to reflect and examine the experiences of Snowlapalooza. I think that such an intense experience deserves some introspection – how did it affect us, has it changed us in any way. I would suggest that, even if you aren’t entirely aware of it, the experience has changed you a great deal.
When I examine an event like this, the first, most dramatic thing I see is the difference between how the adults look at the experience versus how the children view the experience. Without exception every child I spoke to thought this was simply the best experience of their young lives – including those that had to sleep in the car in a parking lot! Adult responses ranged from being something like that of the children to out-right hostility. In an attempt to not sound too judgemental I will suggest that those with the positive attitude towards Snowlapalooza may have an edge over those who felt truly put-out.
Kids have the amazing ability to take life as it comes and to allow every experience to be an adventure. We don’t naturally loose that as a necessity of age – we loose it because we begin to pigeon-hole life’s experiences and we make judgements about how things ‘should’ be and we are disappointed when life doesn’t work out that way. Some of my friends argue that it is because children don’t understand the severity of a situation like the Blizzard of 2010, that we, as adults are responsible for every one’s safety, welfare and well dammit, I have a JOB to do…yes, I hear you, I have a job and kids that I want to keep safe as well but I would suggest that it is possible to have both a positive experience during something like Snowlapalooza AND be serious about your job, your kids safety and the like.
The reason why something like Snowlapalooza is such a great vehicle for developing ones awareness is because for the most part people are not in mortal danger…true, there are exceptions and I do not want to belittle those but lets face it – we are not talking Hurricane Katrina here. The Blizzard of 2010 created a situation where there was really nothing you could do about it – you had to wait it out, accept the situation for what it was and simply wait – there were many opportunities for sane judgement – chances to determine if what you WANTED was reasonable, responsible, achievable or if you simply had to let it go. It was a great chance to practice letting go and simply allowing life to happen the way it was going to happen.
So in my mind this is the perfect opportunity to explore how the Blizzard of 2010 affected you. Were you like the children, were you more put-out by the whole thing – or somewhere in between?
If you reside more in the ‘put-out’ camp take a minute to explore what truly bothered you about the experience. It may be that you were simply annoyed by how unprepared you were – didn’t have blankets or food in the car? I’d be annoyed too if I was forced to sleep in the car without any provisions. Irritation may stem from poor decisions made that resulted in unnecessary trouble – like the high school kids who had to sleep in the Subway in Somerset because their ski trip had not been canceled and they couldn’t make it home. By the way, it is important to note that I believe most of those kids had a blast – it is the parents who were in the ‘put-out’ crowd. For the people who are irritated with the weather for those reasons it is a good lesson in disaster preparedness and decision making – two very important lessons that should be taken to heart. Some people are just cranky because the hate snow and cold…they should simply move to someplace warmer. I caution those people, however, to consider earth quakes, mudslide, tornados and hurricanes before they choose a place to settle down. There are some people, however, that are simply irritated by the lack of normalcy; the interruption in their habits, life’s patterns and the fact that they couldn’t go to work and kids couldn’t go to school…THAT is what we are supposed to be doing after all, isn’t it?
For those people, I fear they have a great deal more work to do to get to a point where they are able to let go, accept life and life’s experiences as a vehicle to change. The Blizzard of 2010 is the perfect experience to examine how you might release some of your expectations – be more child-like in your approach to your life and what life hands you because no matter how you try you can’t control it – all you can do is prepare for it the best you can, enjoy the calm water and surf the rapids.