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  • Wes Rutledge

So Dad, How Can I Make Some Sense Today? – Part 2

Updated: Jan 17, 2021

Same question, different day. Yesterday’s message focused on calming myself. Now as a calmer person, what am I supposed to do?

In the movie “Castaway”, Tom Hanks finds himself the sole survivor of a plane crash washed up on a remote, uninhabited island. The first thing he does when he opens his eyes is assess his own state of being. Is he hurt? Can he move? In what ways can he function? This isn’t an uncommon approach. In nearly every action movie where there’s crash with survivors, they each start that assessment process. It’s the same process that the emergency responders use when they arrive on scene. It’s the first steps emergency room personnel apply when the ambulance comes screeching in, or the patient walks up to the sign-in sheet. Before anything can be done, we must assess the situation and see what the damage really is.

Yesterday, we focused on getting calmer. Today’s advice – get a good handle on my situation. Tom Hanks character’s situation had thrust him into a new and unplanned world. Sound familiar? Before he could start trying to figure out how to survive, live or escape, he had to figure out what his personal capabilities were. Personally, that’s what I did and continually do. What’s my status? What am I capable of doing today? Sure, there’s lots of things happening around me. There are closings, quarantines, hoarding, and constant news bits flooding in. I’m concerned and even afraid at times. Those are good emotions. They mean that I am present in the world, and not either unconscious or lost in some other delusion. But being concerned or afraid doesn’t help me much beyond triggering a response. It’s that response that will either help me or not. I know this firsthand.

I remember the first time I went skiing. I was in my early twenties and didn’t really know what I was doing. Late in my first session, I had an accident. I lost control and went to the edge of the trail and hit the snowblower hookup. The hookup was a pipe that rose up about three and a half feet from the ground, and I twisted just as I was about to hit it. I struck the pipe with the back of my left leg first. The good news was the pipe stopped me from going further and wrapping myself onto a tree, rock or something else. But the reality was that the pipe took me out! I hit it and fell. My skis went flying. I had no idea where my ski poles went. I was just flattened by this hookup and was laying in the snow – terrified of what I had just done. I was scared to move. Did I break my leg? What about my back? Am I bleeding anywhere? I laid there in the snow concerned and afraid.

But that wasn’t going to get me anywhere. I needed to know if I was really hurt or could work my way down the hill. After laying there what felt like was about twenty minutes, I started assessing what happened to me and what my capabilities were. I could move. I could stand. I didn’t have any skis or poles. I would need help to come down the hill. Luckily someone saw my fall and alerted the ski patrol. They arrived, assessed and took me down the hill on the back of their snowmobile – once we knew my capabilities.

So that’s my insight for today – assess your situation and capabilities. Do you have enough cash to take care of yourself for a little while if things have changed and you’re laid off or unemployed? Do you have the necessary tools? If not, what must you do, or where must you go? What are your capabilities? Jumping up might not be the right thing to do, but perhaps neither is just lying there.

Of course, just as I needed someone to alert the ski patrol, and someone to help me down the hill, you might need someone to help you now. That’s perfectly normal. Reach out to people you know to help you. Whether it’s a member of your family, a friend or a trained professional. Yes, these financial times are producing situations that may be best addressed by financial professionals (just like when accidents require medical professionals). Don’t be afraid to contact your bank, HR department, a financial consultant or other professional. They are there to help you – that’s what they do! And the best ones help you feel better as you assess your situation. Isn’t that what you ultimately want – to begin feeling better? So today, time to do a little assessing – then we can start forming a plan tomorrow.

Stay well and stay put – I’m looking forward to our chat tomorrow.

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