Don’t be a flat squirrel

Over Spring Break we spent a day together at the beach in Galveston.  Even though it was a beautiful sunny day, it was a little chilly out.  There were a few daring souls in bikinis, but they weren’t in the water.

They were like lizards, staying close to the sand. 

While Oaks and Scott were endlessly passing the football, Noah decided to conquer these rocks.  At first it was just a curious journey to the top.  But once he found his footing, it became a race against the clock.  “Mom, time me!”  Which became, “I want to beat my last time!” Which quickly became, “Mom, race me!” 


What had appeared such an easy feat for Noah to make it to the top of the rocks in less than thirty seconds, felt a lot more monumental once I was looking down at the giant gaps between the sharp rocks (in my flip-flops).  A couple of slips slowed me down.  Even though we weren’t very high and the consequences of a fall were probably relatively minor, I had to convince myself to keep moving.

I guess you know who won.   

If there’s anything I learned from my younger years as a flight attendant that has served me well, it’s this: a lot of people freeze in emergency situations.  It’s why we were trained to yell “Release seatbelts! Release seatbelts!” at the top of our lungs before any other commands.

If we fear we cannot survive, we will often freeze up. 

It’s our lizard brain, or the amygdala, hijacking the rational decision-making part of our brain in almost an instant effort to protect us from the pain we might feel.  In some horrific circumstances that’s the best thing for it to do, but in our everyday life circumstances, and most emergency situations, it doesn’t serve us very well.  Most of the time, we need to fight to stay fully present and allow our thinking brains to make the decisions.

That’s probably why I laughed out-loud when I saw this quote on Pinterest:

“Be decisive.

Right or wrong, make a decision.

The road of life is pave with flat squirrels who couldn’t make a decision.”

Don’t be a flat squirrel.   

Decide in advance, that the next time you’re faced with a situation that feels like it’s threatening your life, but you know it’s really only a decision about which rock to jump to next, stay present.

Make a decision.

You might fail, but it won’t kill you.  You might learn.  You will grow.

And you might be the first to the top!

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