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I Was Anxious All The Way Up Until It Was Too Late

July 24, 2019

I’m stuck in the forest.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the forest. And I love camping. And I love my family. So, camping with my family in the forest? What’s not to love?

I really thought this place was going to have wifi. I have an important meeting today that I have to present at. Even though we were on vacation, I figured I could squeeze it in. (Happens a lot.)

But, this forest doesn’t have wifi. In fact, we are about ten miles from even a single bar of cell service, let alone WiFi. On the way out here, I was pretty anxious.

See, we didn’t know if WiFi or cell phones would work when we left. My lovely wife hoped they didn’t. I hoped they did. In fact, I sort of expected it.

Because I expected it, I didn’t make any arrangements for a backup. I’m on call 24×7 and I have no formal backup. If I know I’ll be out of cell range, I arrange for one of our account managers to take any outage calls. He doesn’t actually work them, but at least he’s there to answer the phone and make sure we keep track of lost time.

As we headed higher into the mountains, and the bars on my phone got smaller and smaller, I started to get anxious. “Shoot, I should have planned better.”

“Maybe there’ll be a camp host or something.”

“What if there’s an outage?”

“What can I do to mitigate this?”

“Maybe I’ll have a little bit of service.”

And then, finally, the last bar disappeared. Well there it was. We were still ten miles from the campground, headed up into the canyon and my phone had just become a really expensive camera.

And as the service bars went away, so did my anxiety.

Seriously, I was way more relaxed after my phone died than I was with two. . .or was it three. . .oh no, now it’s one bar. Because, once the option of staying connected via phone was gone, it removed the uncertainty.

I’ve always thought I would face death calmly. I imagine I’d be the guy to say, as did Breaker Morant, “Shoot straight. Don’t mess this up.” I think we all see ourselves as heroes of our own stories. But, there are been times in my life where I no longer had a choice. At that point, I become extremely calm.

As a young Mormon missionary in Chicago, I was riding a southside bus. I was dozing, as was my custom on the bus. Suddenly a very angry Native American man wanted to talk to me. I’m still not sure what he was upset about. I did my best to talk him down.

And then, he pulled a knife and waved it in my face. Well, what could I do. I’m not sure I did the smartest thing. I looked him in the eye and calmly said, “I don’t want to fight you.” Then, I turned away.

He didn’t stab me. He did hit me with his jacket. I just ignored it.

Once the time of decision is past, it’s easier for me to accept my fate. In today’s case, my fate is that I get to spend two days with my family camping in the forst and no cell phone.

Come to think of it, that’s not cause for anxiety at all.

Rodney Bliss is an avid outdoorsman who needs to learn to let go more often and enjoy the beautiful state of Utah

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