Wednesday, July 13, 2011

All About Options...

One of my favorite things about my darling friend, Linda Dunn, is her obsession with options. Her son, Brady, even wrote a funny tribute to Linda’s option expertise on her 50th birthday that described it perfectly.

Basically Linda always presents friends and family with options. We can do “a” or “b” or “c.” There is never just one route or one way with Linda nearby, there are always options. It may be that one option is mentioned with a biased or prejudicial slant, but still, Linda does give you options. It’s pretty much in her DNA.

So last weekend was never an exact and calculated plan. Oh no, we always had options! Linda is a gifted leader and just to make sure no one accuses her of taking charge (aka being the mom), she’s perfected the art of rattling off a few ideas (generally presented as options) just to make sure no one feels manipulated, boxed in or powerless.

I should have tallied the number of times we used the words “options” over the weekend because Linda’s example is contagious. After a few hours, all of us were discussing things in terms of options. Actually, it’s a pretty good skill to hone and I think I got some good practice.

Here’s one amusing but classic Linda option. She and I decided to run (with some walking too) the 15 mile Wasatch Crest Trail all the way to Millcreek Canyon at which point Linda was sure we’d have options to get a ride back up Big Cottonwood Canyon (Mike, Brady, a friendly hiker with a car, etc.). But when we finally made it to the Log Haven Restaurant in Millcreek and didn’t find hikers nor did our phones have cell service, Linda pointed out that another option would be to just keep going. I agreed. This option looked like our best strategy at that point (truthfully we were lacking any others but option oriented people don’t readily admit to that). I wondered aloud how much further "keep going” meant and Linda casually noted the additional mileage was just 10 more miles. 10 more miles! After going 15 already! Yes, thinking of 10 miles (after finishing 15) as no big deal is why Linda can compete in Ultra Distance running and why I can’t (I happen to think of marathons as a long haul).

Well, we soldiered on down the new trail at least half of the way and eventually did go with our earlier option to get a ride out of Millcreek canyon by hikers and further rescued by Mike at Einstein’s bagels. Quite frankly, Linda and her never ending supply of options is one of the things I dearly love about her. After all, I did end up with 20 plus miles under my belt and without Linda I would probably never attempt such exhilarating adventures. So, I’ve learned that when I have an option to spend time with Linda, that is always a great option!