Balancing disappointment with common sense

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I’m in a conflicted mood this evening. I had to cut a family camping vacation short due to inclement weather that made it impossible for me to get a good night’s sleep. The combination of cold and damp, and a pillow and sleeping bag clammy with sweat, had me wondering at one point if hypothermia was setting in because I couldn’t stop shivering.

After getting some food and hot tea into my system I didn’t feel much better, and suspected that I was coming down with a cold. I wandered around the campgrounds for a while, visiting with people and trying to stay out of the wind and rain, and trying to decide if I was prepared to go through the same ordeal on two more nights. In the end we decided to strike camp and head back to the city sooner rather than later, while I still felt well enough to drive.

So here I am, at 11 pm on Saturday night, at my desk in Winnipeg rather than out stargazing at a provincial park. At one level it feels like I failed, driving a long way for nothing and spending money on gear that probably won’t get used again.

And at the same time, I know I did the right thing. It wasn’t a failure, but a learning experience and a good workout for my self-awareness. I gave it a good try, but quickly figured out that continuing would just make a bad situation worse.

There is something tremendously vindicating about a nice, hot bath and being able to fall asleep almost as soon as your head hits the pillow, even in the middle of the afternoon. Something gratifying about settling back into a familiar routine and enjoying it all the more.

I think I’ll put a check mark in the “victory” column for this one.

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