What Hurricanes Have Taught Me
Born and raised in Florida, it's very common to see your city under a hurricane watch. The preparation goes from crazy to insanity, the roads are busier than LA, the stores are more crowded than on Black Friday and people are ready to gain weight from their hurricane snacks.
Growing up watching for hurricanes changes you. Living through these natural phenomenons make you appreciate things you never thought of before. And it also makes you stressed AF.
First, you learn spaghetti is stressful.
It's true, those spaghetti noodles/models were really only created to make your life unnecessarily stressful. Sure, it's great to have warning, unlike those who get earthquakes and tornadoes. BUT the week of unknown and constant update of the model is enough to drive you mad. Growing up in Florida teaches you to never trust pasta and never believe a computer model until about 36hrs out.
Second, you realize how much stuff you have.
Why did I buy those adorable lamps at Pottery Barn on a whim?! Why do I have so many notebooks? When you get the news that a Category 4 is supposed to hit, realize how much money you've wasted. You go through serious mental and emotional turmoil trying to decide what stays and what goes, knowing you might not have a house to come back. Do I bring all my leggings and oversize sweatshirts so I'm comfy 24/7 OR pack work clothes since those were the most expensive?
Third, you remember how damn long your state is.
There is no "quick" escape in Florida. You're pretty much stuck, which is also a reason why many people chose to stay during Hurricane Irma. It's not that easy to jump out of the way. It's like trying to dodge a moving car... in a tunnel.... that's one-way... And when the ENTIRE state is told to evacuate, it's like walking through the desert with a million of your close friends. Just imagine an ant colony in one of those ant farm cases, except instead of ants it's cars. But the cars are going the same speed as ants.
Fourth, you realize how precious a fully-stocked Publix is.
Seriously, it's not until every aisle is 2/3 empty that you realize how amazing a fully-stocked and operational Publix is. Thanksgiving and Christmas meal-preps have nothing on Hurricane-prep! When you see all the crackers, chips, bread and peanut butter gone you also realize how your staple-diet is a disaster-diet. And you feel simultaneously mad people are taking your food and embarrassed that you food choices are so poor.
Fifth, there's the painful realization that time off of work or school is actually not enjoyable.
When you get time off, you're actually stressfully preparing for catastrophic acts from Mother Nature and panicking hardcore. You can't really go anywhere (unless you're evacuating and stuck in endless traffic) and you won't really enjoy the time off because you're too worried about your home being blow away or flooded. It's a mess, and you actually need a vacation afterward.
Sixth, social media deserves presidential medal.
Some of the memes out there are SPOT-ON. Also, the events that were created were absolutely priceless. Although, you know most of the people who came up with these things couldn't be in Florida because we didn't have time for that nonsense. We were too busy packing our lives up in some backpacks.
Seventh, the toughest question - do you leave or stay?
Do I stay and tough it out? Do I procrastinate this time or nah? Do I full prey to the panic around me or do I stay levelheaded? Do I over-prepare and leave? Do I wait for the science to know whether I'm in danger or not? Do I make a big deal about it on Facebook to get attention... cuz we all know someone who did this...
However, many of us are EXTREMELY lucky that Irma didn't severely damage our homes - some of us dodged a serious bullet. It did have a major impact on many people and homes, though, so please don't forget to donate and help those affected by Hurricane Harvey & Hurricane Irma. Here is a link to find legit charities: Charity Navigator. I personally have chosen Direct Relief, if that helps anyone!