- Be Patient
Waiting sucks! Over the years I have learned that patience is not easy, and I have tried to become increasingly more patient as I have matured. But this is not always easy. As I waited for Hurricane Irma’s arrival, I felt myself ruminating and creating scenarios in my mind that did nothing but stir up anxiety within me. I teach my clients “worry when it’s time to worry” and I found myself repeatedly stopping and saying to myself “worry when it’s time to worry.”
- Humor Works
I also was reminded while waiting for Irma that there are very few things in my control in this world. Hurricanes, and the path it chooses to take, are one of those things I can’t control. So, I found myself working hard to control the one thing that I could, my attitude. Since I could control my attitude, I used humor to make me laugh in a time of uncertainty. I found myself spending hours looking at memes about Hurricane Irma sharing with family and friends who also laughed with me. While the situation itself was the furthest thing from funny, taking my mind down a path where I could find a smile was much easier to manage than something I could not control (the path of a hurricane). Normally, I would say spending hours looking at memes is a complete waste of time, but in this situation, where the entire state was shutting down and evacuating in tragedy, me trying to focus on work was not about to happen. Instead, I used humor to minimize anxiety and nerves for a moment in time.
- Be a Minimalist
More, more, more is our way of life. But when you are told to evacuate your home, suddenly you need nothing. I looked around my beautiful home and couldn’t even fill one full suitcase. Ask my husband, if we go to a hotel for one overnight stay I have three pieces of luggage! Now, someone tells me my house is going to blow away and I need to leave the state immediately and I can’t even fill one suitcase? Why? I realized that when it comes down to it, you need nothing but family pictures, yoga pants and your stuffed animal from when you were a kid. You only need the few things that comfort you, nothing else matters in the end.
- Things are Replaceable
A home, a car, a boat, a mansion, a race car, a yacht. Mother Nature doesn’t care. You can work a lifetime for it and when she is ready, she can take it all from you in one fell swoop. Gone. The theme of Hurricane Irma, everyone kept saying, save yourself and your family, things can be replaced, people cannot. This is 100% true. When it boils down to it, what mattered most to me? My favorite dining room table or my kids? My 30K car or my husband? Of course my kids and husband. I need to keep that in perspective when I am “too busy” to give them time throughout the weeks and years ahead. In the end, they matter most and everything else is replaceable.
One of the scariest things about Hurricane Irma for me down here in Tampa, Florida is that her wrath came in the dark. It was 10:53 pm and I was sitting in the middle of a monster storm. The wind was so loud all around the home I was in, but yet I was somehow untouched. I went to open the curtain to see the destruction and what I was hearing, but it was so black out I couldn’t see anything. Was a tree starting to fall toward the house? I had no clue. At this point I was reminded of the power of visualizing. When you can see things, they become less scary and clearer to you. If you visualize your goals and dreams the path will be less scary and clearer to you.
- You Better Have an Emergency Account
As I sat and thought about the power of Hurricane Irma and her potential for destruction over the city I live in, I was glad that we had saved as a family for unforeseen emergencies. I thought about the rebuild process and how services I offer, and so many other small businesses here offer, would no longer be a priority in society’s eyes right away. Rightfully so of course, but student loans and mortgage companies, they still want their payments. Life once again reinforced to me that there is a real importance in saving, because when life happens to you, life around you still goes on and that costs money.
- Anxiety is Draining as All Hell
The entire journey of Hurricane Irma was a rollercoaster of emotions. The ups and downs were draining. But when the storm ended, my body had time to catch up and reflect on the journey and stop living in adrenaline mode. Somehow I was living in BOTH fight and flight mode with Irma. I was exhausted. I went to bed at 5:30 pm the night she left Tampa Bay and slept until 6am the next day. Looking back, if I would have worked even harder to “worry when it was time to worry” perhaps I would not have had as much anxiety and thus exhaustion.
- There is No Place Like Home
This has got to be one of the truest movie lines of all time. When I was told to evacuate my home, I loved and appreciated my home even more than I already do, and let me tell you, I LOVE my home. Not sleeping in my home, not knowing if my home was being leveled, this made me miss and be grateful for my home more than ever. Seeing my home after the storm, still standing, was an incredible feeling. Sleeping in my own bed and not at a shelter, friend’s home or out of state was an amazing feeling. I was in my home. More than ever I want to take part in the rebuilding process of people who lose their homes during a natural disaster, because there really is, no place like home.
- Positive Vibes and Prayers Work
Whether you believe in God, positive energy or something, anything, bigger than yourself, you’re right. Irma reminded me that there is something much bigger than us out there. For Tampa, I hope our eyes have been opened or at least we all question the universe more. With a couple hours to spare, what could have hit us as a high category 3 hurricane was downgraded to hit us at a category 1. With 60-120 minutes to spare Hurricane Irma shifted inland taking the eastern wall away from the ocean waters so that the wind ended up pulling water away from the shore. It literally appeared as if we had a reverse tide! For me, something bigger than myself plus the energy of the entire country sending us positive vibes and prayers clearly worked.
- The sun will shine again
The storm was mostly gone around 930 a.m. on 9/11 here in Tampa. At 10:01 am the blue sky and beams of sun came out over my home. This deadly monster of a storm whizzed by us and moments later the sun shone as if nothing ever happened. But this showed me that life goes on. That you have to rebuild, be humbled every once and while and begin again. Hurricane Irma showed me that tough times are inevitable, but the sun will always shine again.
Thank you for allowing me to share my personal reflection of Hurricane Irma with you. This event was eye opening to both myself and family in so many ways. For those of you that were impacted by the Irma’s power, my heart, positive vibes and prayers are with you. I hope that you and your family are safe and that you are somehow stronger than you were just days ago.