We all want to be secure. Secure in our retirement. Secure in our home. Secure in life.
And then it happens. Perhaps it is just a teeny tiny prick or a major impact with a blunt instrument but something hits you. And your sense of security is gone. Just like that. Your life falls apart like jello nailed to the wall.
The stock market crashes.
Your retirement is no longer secure.
A thief breaks into your house.
Your home is no longer secure
The last checkup with the doctor brings bad news.
Your life is no longer secure.
You order a burger with ketchup and it comes slathered in mayonnaise.
Your stomach is no longer secure.
I spend a disproportionate amount of time in worry. I must love it. Worry, that is. I spend so much time worrying. About anything and everything I can.
But, more than anything else, I worry about making mistakes.
I imagine the worst possible outcome. Frequently. Lorraine might even say always.
Sure, I blame it on my corporate career. There I had to be constantly evaluating alternate scenarios around impactful decisions. The question “what might happen” was foremost in my mind when working with other senior executives, board members, and team members. As a former Chief Information Officer, or CIO, I was painfully aware that even one little mistake could result in being given a different CIO title: Career Is Over. The unemployment line. End of the line.
And I brought that thinking home.
My life has been full of terrible misfortunes most of which never happened.
That quote, attributed to Michel de Montaigne, way back in the 1500s, resonates. I might even toss it on my tombstone although I am not quite ready to do so. Not for a while I hope. Hmmm. I worry about that too.
What happened to us a few months back was a wake-up call for me. A time to really get serious about preparing for the inevitable. To face the unknown, unknown risk, that, even though unknowable, must nonetheless be faced.
Some of you may recall that our vehicle was ruthlessly ransacked in Florida.
Okay, perhaps not necessarily ruthlessly. I had, after all, left the doors unlocked, and the thief had simply opened the door to get into the car.
Not really ransacked either. He opened the glovebox and the storage area under the armrest and the only trace of his entry and exit was a streak of suntan lotion. I could understand the suntan lotion. It is sunny in Florida after all and, despite the fact that the crime occurred sometime after midnight, I applauded the thief’s desire to protect his skin from the sun. He was a fellow worrier. He knew how to face the unknown, unknown risk. After this incident, I immediately started applying sunscreen at night.
Just in case.
Better safe than sorry.
What was stolen from our vehicle you might ask?
As it turns out, nothing. Despite having significant amounts of Canadian money in the car, roughly 10 dollars or so in coins, worth perhaps 50 cents or so in U.S. currency, the thief decided to abandon that stash of cash and try his luck elsewhere.
Back to the unknown, unknown risk.
I live by the following words of one of the greatest leaders of the free world, Donald Rumsfeld, who once said and I quote:
Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.
Ah yes. The difficult ones.
We must have eyes on our coach and on our toad.
After all, I spend far too much time hiking around in the remote regions of California.
I might look happy up there in that photo in the middle of nowhere but really, I am worrying. Worrying about whether some other thief is going to try to break into our vehicles and leave our stuff alone because our stuff isn’t worth all that much because we bought that stuff using Canadian loonies. And Canadian loonies are really just pennies in these United States.
Yes. The unknown unknowns!
And so I searched high and low. Low and high. Wide and narrow. Narrow and wide.
I even went on Amazon. Then Google.
And lo, there it was.
The solution to all of my worries. The thing that would singlehandedly restore my sense of security.