Here’s your task.
You’re in a big room. It’s filled with the usual – chairs, tables, lamps, books. Your mission? Get from one side to the other and back again, carrying a dozen eggs, in or out of their carton. You have your choice of two baskets, along with bubble wrap and a few other items.
A method to my madness
Twenty years ago I would have picked up the carton of eggs, and navigated my way through the furnishings to one end, then back again.
Testing – one, two, three…
I would assume this “game” is a test – or worse – a matter of survival. So I would check the contents of the carton to be sure that everything is intact to begin with. Finding that insufficient, I would gently twist each egg, ensuring that they aren’t stuck, which means they won’t crack when removed.
Then I would examine the baskets. Is there one that will hold the eggs more securely? Can I reuse the basket for another purpose? What if an unexpected request is made en route? If one basket is wire mesh, and another wicker, which makes more sense? Shall I bubble wrap first – the carton as a whole, or each individual egg?
And maybe I should grab bottled water, string, duct tape and band-aids sitting on the nearby table. Just in case.
Putting all your eggs in one basket
One thing I know for sure – I would take two baskets. Because I don’t put all my eggs in one basket anymore. Ever.
Of course, by this time, everyone else has made it across the room and back, and I’m still second guessing motives, alternatives, the best maneuvers around the tables and chairs, the materials on hand. Short of a Gantt Chart, a flow chart and access to Visio, I’ve got plans and more plans rumbling around in my head. “Just in case.”
Then again, there’s a possibility that other mothers are still sizing up the situation and considering their options. And probably packing up a tote bag for the trip.
Life Skills: Planning for a rainy day
My egg behavior isn’t indecision. I make choices quickly, and decisively. That’s as much a part of my life as planning for a rainy day. And speaking of that rainy day, therein lies the problem, along with a great deal of single parent (any parent?) conditioning.
I also know that moderation exists, somewhere between anticipating the worst and shrugging off the need to plan altogether. I err on the side of (excessive?) caution when I lack information or context. I also diversify my risk, whenever I can, both personally and professionally. This wasn’t my approach before becoming a parent, but life has taught me lessons – including preparing for the worst, and hoping for the best.
What about you?
- Has life taught you to prepare for the unexpected?
- Do you over-complicate as a result?
- Do you consider it spreading your risk?
- Do you spread your risk to moderate disappointment?
- Has parenthood made you more cautious?