Let It Snow

I got the message around 2 pm.

My wife, Linda, emailed to say that because of the snowstorm, she had just heard that all after school events were cancelled for the day.

Ouch. My weekly basketball game is in the middle school gym – if they shut down the schools, they shut down the game.

I was very unhappy; my game night preparations were already well underway:

  • I had eaten a big lunch, knowing I wouldn’t eat again until at least 9pm.
  • I hadn’t exercised that morning, in anticipation of playing that night.
  • My gym bag was packed and ready in the trunk of my car.

Now it was all cancelled.

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Later that evening, and more or less over my disappointment, I slowly and carefully made the three mile drive home through the snow covered streets of our town.

That’s when I began thinking about snow and how its impact on daily life is actually a good thing.

Sure, stuff gets cancelled, cars need cleaning and you’re bound to spend many hours over the course of a New England winter shoveling, snow blowing and throwing ice melt on your children front steps.

But there’s plenty of good stuff that results as well.

You walk outside in the morning and the entire neighborhood, as far as you can see, looks nothing like it did the night before.

Your kids get to stay home – and you get to sleep in – when the occasional snow day arrives (something that, at any age, never gets old).

Even the driving, as white-knuckled as some of those drives can be, is kind of a fun adventure.

Yes, we complain about it. But the truth is, we sort of like it.

After all, snowstorms, despite all the random havoc they can create, make things interesting. Much more so than just another day, as planned.

You know what they remind me of? Being a solo professional. Here’s what I mean…

When you work solo, things can be crazy. You can go from amazing highs to soul-crushing lows … in the same day. It’s thrilling, terrifying, fun, confusing and many other words that I’m sure I could find at Thesaurus.com.

But you know what it never is? Dull.

Back when I had a job, on the other hand, there were no high highs and there were no low lows – everything was pretty much steady as she goes, day after day after day. It was like living in a place where the weather never changed.

Sure, my paycheck arrived predictably and on time every two weeks. But back then, the difference between a great day and an average day hinged on whether or not I found leftover cake in the lunchroom.

With the year almost over, many solo professionals are wondering if maybe chasing the dream of working on their own is a bad idea. So much uncertainty, so many things to worry about.

I used to wonder too, especially during those first few years. Now I just think of it like snow: unpredictable and occasionally even dangerous. But that’s why it’s so much fun too.

I think my friend and fellow solo professional, Don Maher, may have summed it up best the other day, when I asked him how things were going.

He just kind of laughed and said, “Michael, it’s never as good as you want it to be, but it’s so much better than it used to be.”

Words to live by for 2014. (Don’t forget your gloves and boots.)

 

 

16 thoughts on “Let It Snow

  1. Jen @ Daycare In Demand

    Great post, Michael! I know exactly what you’re saying – this week we had a rotating sick kid home most of the week, on top of some new work that is just a bit of a stretch for me. And, though it was stressful at times, it was also exhilarating and exciting. To be able to wake up every day to work you’re eager to get to (even if above-mentioned sick kid makes it hard to do so) is a tremendous gift. Far better than stale break room cake :)

    Reply
    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Absolutely. Being in the game (whatever the score) is always better than sitting there wondering if maybe you should have played! (I do miss the cake though. Always a treat!)

      Reply
  2. Joyce S. Kaye

    Right on, Michael! I could never go back to working a j-o-b (a 3-letter word in my book). Always interesting, certainly more creative than a job, always meeting new people, etc. Yep, trading it for a steady paycheck, while relieving some issues, is just not worth it. My soul could not bear it. Life is so much richer as a solo professional. Holiday greetings from the beautiful Red Rock Country (Sedona) in AZ, Joyce

    Reply
  3. Susie Beesley

    Just wanted to say thanks for a great post. Despite evidence to the contrary, I still struggle with those little episodes of self-doubt as to whether I can REALLY do this. Your post reminded me that those thoughts are normal, and I need to ignore them and plough on regardless.
    And yes, when we do get snow here in England and the kids can’t get to school and I’m going on a four hour adventure to get food – we are all (not so) secretly enjoying it!

    Have a great Christmas and New Year.

    Reply
    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Hello Susie! I think the struggle is pretty universal and, as you say, more a matter of getting better at ignoring those voices in our heads.
      Have a great holiday as well!
      Michael

      Reply
    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Think of it as really cold beach sand that falls from the sky, Dave!
      Happy holidays (I’m mailing you a snowball).
      Michael

      Reply
  4. Diane Spadola

    So, just in the nick of time, you sent me this great newsletter. The week was tough, with sick freshman home from college, non-college kid bemoaning the lack of “ONLY child time”, still up at night with a baby dog, snow cancellations of parties and gigs, and very very slow shopping season at FAO which makes the happiest toy store in the world, just a little desperate.

    But then you put it all in perspective. Would I go back to my former life? NOoooo. Is it hard when its a dog eat dog day and you are wearing milk bone underwear? Yes…..But I get lots of kudos and I took a nap after my gig today….JUST because I can!! Hahaha! Thank you.

    Reply
  5. Judy

    Michael,
    I loved the spin you put on snow storms and life as a freelancer. I will keep the words to live by in 2014 – and the entire post – close by me. You see, they’re particularly meaningful because I am preparing to pull on my snow boots and actually get up the nerve to launch in 2014. And that’s saying something because in central North Carolina we tend to go into a huge wobble at the slightest threat of snow. Strip the grocery stores, tank up with gas, view the lowering skies with trepidation … the whole gamut.
    So – thank you very much!
    And hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday and great 2014!

    Reply
  6. Liz Fulcher

    Brilliant post, Michael! I’ve been a solo entrepreneur for 17 years. But I’ve always had the safety net of my husbands regular income. Now he wants to leave his “secure” job and open his dream school. How can I say no? Now the adventure REALLY begins!

    Reply
  7. Neil J Rhein

    Good stuff as always Michael. Whenever I get in a rut or experience a bit of cabin fever, I just remind myself that it’s better than commuting, having a boss, attending endless meetings etc. And tomorrow is another day to start with a fresh attitude or blow off work and do something fun.

    Reply

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