Matt Knutson: Try to make the most of every day this year

Published 9:27 pm Thursday, January 4, 2018

Things I Tell My Wife by Matt Knutson

“This isn’t exactly how I envisioned us starting off 2018,” I told my wife when we found ourselves stuck in a gas station parking lot. With temperatures still well below zero, the low-fuel light popped up on our vehicle, prompting a quick stop on our way to work to refuel and be on our way. Little did we know, our vehicle’s battery decided to pursue an early retirement at a most inconvenient time. What started our car perfectly minutes before was now utterly useless.

If I’m being honest, I can’t paint too grim of a picture. We weren’t stranded in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone service. We were stuck at the gas pump closest to the gas station doors with a conveniently located auto shop just across the street. A few brisk walks back and forth, and we had a shuttle scheduled to bring us to work and the promise that our car would be ready to work in a few hours. You really can’t ask for much more than that.

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There is something rather humbling about being stranded. In many ways, you’re at the mercy of those who you encounter in those moments. Even when your problem turns into just a mild inconvenience, it still creates the space for you to reflect on what you could be doing to be more prepared for the unexpected. Maybe a few of us had the new year’s resolution to expect the unexpected but that wasn’t the case for me.

Having 2018 begin with a battery failure is a great lesson in resolution-making for the Knutson household. As much as this time of year is about goal setting and dreaming big, it is important to acknowledge that sometimes things just won’t go your way. There will be moments where the finish line is in sight and your legs quit moving. As Coldplay taught us, you can try your best but not succeed. Everyone is buzzing with optimism this time of year, but it is wise to remember that the enthusiasm fades. We have to be adaptable in order to make progress.

This could not be truer for Sera, as the day our car battery died was not only the first day of work in 2018, but also her first day returning to work after Maeva was born. There are certain days in life that will always be hard, and for a lot of working mothers, the first day returning to the job post-birth is a challenging one. When that day is met with an automotive failure first thing in the morning, one could quickly jump to the conclusion that this is a sign. I was surprised to not hear Sera voice that this incident was proof that she should instead be staying home with the girls. Instead, she embraced the additional hurdle unblinkingly and resumed course toward the day’s plan. We may have been a little late to our offices that morning, but when we did arrive, we made it count.

Hopefully you’ll be able to make 2018 count, too. We’re only a few days in, but if you’re anything like us, you’ve already experienced a few bumps in the road. Don’t let that hinder your progress, and be prepared for more to come. When looking back, the best part of the journey is often the hardest. That’s where the memories are made, and that’s what makes an accomplishment worthwhile. This year will have plenty of unexpected stops and starts, and you’ll find success when you embrace those moments instead of letting them hold you back.

Matt Knutson is a communications specialist in Rochester.