As I was shoveling this morning at 4:50 a.m., in the dark, on Valentine’s Day, digging a path for my car to get out, after the Blizzard of 2017, I was reminded of how shoveling snow is like life. At first, I looked at shoveling as an opportunity to put some steps on my new Fitbit. I could pass my grandchildren in the Fitbit challenge today! Then I thought how proud my husband would be when he got home. He was out putting folks’ power back on, so he would be tired and pleased when he came into the driveway.

So on went all the layers of clothes — long johns, leggings, scarf, hat, three layers of sweatshirts. Excited for this opportunity! Opportunity just like starting a business, trying to lose weight, raising a difficult child, taking a class or buying a home.

I get the shovel and look at the enormous opportunity ahead. After three or four shovels of snow filled and thrown over the bank, this opportunity is looking more like a chore. Not a fun chore! I am now completely overwhelmed. This pile is way too big. How will I get this car out?

It is at this point that I start to rationalize, “Do I really need to go out today?” The answer is yes. I can’t quit. I can’t give up! I have just enough stubbornness and drive in me to keep going.

I refocus. “Tammy, just do one shovelful at a time.” After about 15 minutes. I have a small square done. I rest. I have started to make progress — one shovel at a time.

Then I decide to really focus on one path from me to the garage door. I move quickly. Only doing that one path. This progress is quicker. I am only a few shovelfuls away. 

I break through. Done. One path, the shovel width and two feet deep. Done.

The whole garage door width to go. I start going all around the path again, a little overwhelmed. I refocus. I look up at the moon and stars. They are so beautiful. It is so quiet. I hear a plow beeping somewhere off in the distance as it backs up.

I keep shoveling. Shoveling. Shoveling. I keep throwing the snow. One shovelful at a time. A truck rides by — the first one I have seen this morning. I wave. They wave back. We are friendlier during snowstorms. We are bonded together in the snow. Strangers but all community members. We are in this together.

I see the end in sight. Almost done. Then the light fluffy snow turns heavy and wet and frozen! It is hard. I go into the garage and bring out the spade. I think it is a spade, with a square head, not the pointed one. I use that. It works. Progress is very slow now. Chunks of heavy ice. I was almost done with my side of the garage too! Slow progress at best. Done! The car can get out! I am free again!

I stand back. The question to myself becomes, “Tammy, do you just leave it like this or go around the sides and clean it all up?” Really?? I had to ask myself that!! I have heard so many times, “Be excellent!” I used my shovel and I clean it all up.

In one hour, I have gone from opportunity, preparing, overwhelmed, focus, determination, refocus, smaller steps, perseverance to finally achieving goal. Shoveling snow is just like life!

Pete, my husband, just called, “Honey, we have another storm coming tomorrow with wet heavy snow up to another foot. I am concerned about the back deck holding all this snow and more to come.”