The Road to 65, Mile 122: The Lifeboat Exercise

March 30, 2015, Prescott-   My job today involved guiding five classes of Eighth Graders through choosing seven people, out of a possible twelve, to hole up in a bomb shelter, following a hypothetical nuclear holocaust.  This is the culmination of their study of the Cold War Era.

It is, as many will have guessed, a variation on the Lifeboat activity, which many of us have done, in Psychology 101 or as an icebreaker at a business convention.  One gets to play God, or at least presume to advise the Supreme Being.

The students took this responsibility very seriously, and with the re-population of Planet Earth in the balance, being young and highly intelligent worked to the hypothetical survivors’ advantage.   The lone hexagenarian was left out in the Nuclear Winter.  Then again, a nineteen-year-old, of average intelligence, was also culled from the sack.

Each of us does the lifeboat exercise on a regular basis.  We let some people get close to us, and others, try as they might, are kept at arm’s length.  It is human nature, though thankfully such selectivity does not result in harm or death on a regular basis.  Most people who are cut out of one situation find that, as that door closes, another opens.

When I was growing up, and throughout my twenties, I learned to stay flexible and to circulate widely, so as not to depend to excess on any one person or group.  Thus, my love of travel became more than just a means to joie de vivre.  It was a path to survival.  After nearly thirty years of marriage, I learned calmness and patience, in place.  In widowhood, life is more of a mix.  While I will not let myself be either cast out of the lifeboat or shackled within it, the safe haven is a fine place to have close by.

8 thoughts on “The Road to 65, Mile 122: The Lifeboat Exercise

  1. Good read. I feel the same way. I do let a few get very close. You know I travel. I spent many years being still, but I got over it.
    I do have a few lifeboats here and there around the country.


  2. So much to learn. I got to experience that Lifeboat exercise, in a Lifespring growth weekend. Intense.
    (thee knows you have an invite to the now private ‘artwolfen’? just checking, not pushing. i value your independence, too.)


  3. An interesting exercise — and especially so when connected to study of the Cold War! I sense that, in some conditions, one can easily be drawn into a sort of individual cold war ~ ~ having that lifeboat available can be very helpful. You are right that as one door closes another opens — sometimes even better than before.


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