You may be tired of reading about Hurricane Sandy by now, but for those of us affected, she is still hanging around in our minds, and for many, still impacting our lives.
While the terrible physical remnants of Sandy are gone for us personally, she did leave behind a bunch of lessons that I can honestly say I am thankful for, and these lessons are important enough that I wanted to share them with you.
1. The human spirit is amazingly resilient, caring and thoughtful.
People are truly amazing. When things get tough, we come together and do whatever we can to make a difference. In our community alone, I have already attended 3 charity events that supported the relief efforts of the storm. We need each other and when things like this happen, we act. And it is because of this that we will recover from this and be better and stronger than we were before.
2. Mother Nature needs to be respected.
Whether or not you believe in Global Warming, it is impossible to deny that the human race has directly impacted the environment, both in good ways and in bad. It can only benefit us to pay a little closer attention to how we treat our natural surroundings and nurture the land and air we rely on to live.
3. Being “un-plugged” from cyberspace can be a good thing.
Being without power for 12 days was a challenge in many ways, but in some ways it provided a taste of “the old days” when people actually talked to each other instead of texted and families spent time playing board games instead of watching tv. I was able to meet and speak to more people in my community in 12 days than I had in an entire year. I have to say, it is much more gratifying to actually interact with people instead of words on a screen.
4. Electricity I can do without. Heat I cannot.
Being without electricity, while quite annoying, wasn’t too big of a deal. Having to live in a very cold house with two little children was not quite as easy. By the 5th day of living at 52′, we were all extremely irritable and miserable. It was not fun, it was not adventurous, it was awful. The day we realized we could hook our furnace up to our generator was the turning point for us. The heat kicked on and despite our lack of power, we were all in much better moods and thrilled that we found comfort in our home. Please consider donating blankets, hats, jackets, etc. to those who need them. Really. Do it.
5. Candlelight is calming.
Light a candle in the evening instead of the lamp….relax and enjoy.
6. Children need routine.
Our kids were out of school for over a week. It was not a vacation. They felt our stress, they saw the destruction, and they acted out. Not only my kids….all kids. Every parent I spoke was beside themselves with the behavior of their children. Kids NEED normalcy. They need routine. They need to feel secure. The day our schools openend was a day of relief. Children were calmed and despite our damaged community, things felt like they were going to be OK. When the going gets tough, it is important to keep things as normal as possible for the sake of our children.
7. It is important to VOTE for responsible Government Officials
Our elected officials and their response to the storm had dramatic effects on recovery. The difference between the recovery of NY and NJ should teach us that there are many factors to take into consideration when voting.
There are many folks in NJ who have a lot of issues with Governor Chris Christie and the way he handles things, but I think we are pretty much in agreement that the way he handled this storm was amazing. From going out to personally visit and comfort victims, to putting aside all political differences to spend the day with the President to evaluate the damage and discuss how to manage it showed that the welfare of the state and its people were his priority. Thankfully, he quickly instituted the gas rationing program to ease the gas demand (which remedied the long lines almost immediately). The man made a difference.
Meanwhile, NY did not fair as well. It took NY almost 2 weeks to enact gas rationing, and sadly there was a focus by Mayor Bloomberg to hold the NY Marathon which would pull resources and energy away from the recovery effort. People were suffering and fighting for their lives and this man wanted to hold a race that took runners through the devastated areas because it showed “resilience” and provided an economic benefit. The race was eventually postponed due to an overwhelming public outcry. One wonderful thing that came out of this was that many of the runners who had flown in for the race volunteered their time to help victims from the storm however they could.
The bottom line is while it is important to vote for the person who represents WHAT you believe in, it is just as important to vote for WHO will do what is needed when it is needed despite political B.S. Beliefs are important, but the ability to act is also important. Exercise your right and vote…but please, don’t vote blindly. Go into that poll booth informed and educated about your candidates.
8. I can live without coffee.
No power = No coffee maker. The first few days after the storm, there wasn’t a convenience store open within miles and about 90% of my town was without power. I missed my coffee, but by the 3rd day, I had fallen into the routine of boiling some water on my stovetop and settled in to drinking a cup of tea instead. Although I’ve had a few cups of coffee since our power has been restored, I don’t feel that I “need” it. I’ve realized that it’s just the comfort of having a hot drink to start my day that I love. I now find myself enjoying a cup of tea many mornings.
9. It’s OK to accept help from others.
We all have a sense of pride. Heck, we went 5 days without power and heat because we didn’t want to “impose” on family or friends. Looking back, that was kind of stupid. We were in need, and people WANTED to help. Sometimes it just makes more sense to accept the help.
10. “Thank You” is a very powerful word.
Utility workers were working 16 hour shifts for over 2 weeks straight. Linemen came from far-away states to help in the restoration of over 2 million people who lost their power during the storm. These guys and ladies worked their tails off despite the lousy conditions, exhaustion and not-so-nice comments from tired, cold and irritated customers. One day while on a walk, I ran into some guys working and I stopped to tell them “Thank you”. I told them how much I appreciated what they were doing. I can’t tell you how sincere and genuine their smiles were when I did so. It truly touched them to know that people recognized how much work and effort they were putting forth. From that day on, I made it a point to say “Thank you” to the workers whenever I saw them. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Those two little words can make a world of difference to someone. Be generous with them!
So there you have it. Hurricane Sandy may have left a wake of destruction in her path, but it is important that we take note of the valuable lessons she has left us as well.
And that will conclude my “series” on this storm. I am happy to say my studio is back to normal and I have been busy sewing up high chair covers for all my wait list customers. I also have a few fun tutorials in my plans. It’s time to get back to “normal”. Ready, Set, SEW!