• SURVIVING A HURRICANE – How Positivity Prevails

  • Living in Florida for 3 years now, this is the second hurricane that has occurred while living in our beach town of Jacksonville Beach. Although, I have only endured one of them, Irma – the biggest, most powerful, most perfect hurricane meteorologists said that they have ever seen. This storm spanning over 600 miles across could swallow the entire state of Florida in one swoop (and almost did).

    To tell you about my Irma experience and the lessons I learned, I must first tell you about the previous hurricane that passed through Jacksonville since moving here. That was Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. You might be wondering why I was not home during Matthew and the reason stems from the ultimate creation of The Positive Life Company (you can read more about that  in my bio here).

    I was in Lincoln, NE with my mom who was dying of terminal brain cancer. I didn’t know it at the time, but during this time, she would only have about 2 months of life left. This trip was already planned (as were many trips since her diagnosis in April 2016). I remember packing for my late afternoon flight when we got the news – we must evacuate. Living only a few blocks from the beach, experts were concerned about the storm surge and our little beach house had a real possibility of flooding, not to mention other damage that just comes with high winds.

    Of course, I was already “evacuating” with my scheduled flight out. So, on my way out the door, I thought, “What should I take with me? What do I absolutely need?” Besides, I was completely prepared to lose everything. I thought when I came back from Nebraska, I would have nowhere to come home to.

    After walking through every room in our house taking an inventory of all our stuff, I grabbed only one thing – my birth certificate. I already was taking two of my most prized possessions with me anyway – my dog and my mac laptop.

    So, with birth certificate in hand, laptop in my backpack, and Sadie Mae (our little Yorkie only a few months old at the time) over my shoulder in her doggie duffel bag, I left behind my boyfriend to board up the house and make his own decision on what he would take as he evacuated just hours later.

    This brings me to the first lesson in surviving a hurricane…

    We clutter our life with “stuff.” I searched my entire house and I could only find 3 things that I deemed “cannot live without.” What does that say about everything else we have? Sure, I have a few “favorite” things, but I can certainly live without them.

    As I was on my flight home to Lincoln that day, I remember the eerie feeling of accepting that I will lose all that I have in that house. However, at that point in my life, nothing really seemed that important anyway except for one thing…spending as much time with my mom as possible. It’s called “perspective.”

    So, were things different when Irma came around in September 2017? After all, my circumstances had changed…I was in a new house. My mom had already passed. And this time, I was STAYING! I was going to “hunker down” and ride it out. Actually…nothing changed. Before I went to bed the night before Irma hit, I put my laptop on a granite countertop, moved my birth certificate to a high shelf in a closet, and held my sweet dog close.

    Nothing had changed.

    The second lesson I learned was that when times are less than desirable, people get sucked into a spin cycle of negativity. Just like a hurricane spins, people get sucked up into their own hurricane (spin cycle) of negativity. It was incredible watching people be so exceedingly negative during the days leading up Irma. They could only project the absolute worst scenario. They reacted in a way that made everyone around them think the world was going to end.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe that if we all just think positively that somehow (miraculously) the storm will completely dissipate and the sun will shine. That’s just pure crazy.

    But there is line that must be crossed over when it comes to reality and positivity. Accept the reality of a situation and then pass over into the positivity lane. I wrote an article on this during my mom’s battle. You can read it here.

    So, get out of the spin cycle! Be real. Be authentic. Be concerned. But for crying out loud…find the silver lining. When things are out of your control, positivity remains the only hope. Hope gives comfort. Hope spreads love. And we all need a little more love in this world.

    I survived Irma with minimal damage. I still have my laptop (which I am typing this on), my sweet little dog, Sadie Mae, and my birth certificate still sits safely on the top shelf in my closet.

    My heart hurts for those who may not have been as lucky as we were. My hope is that even if they lost everything, they still have their life. My hope is that even if they got sucked up into the negativity spin cycle, that they were spit out the other side – the side of positivity. My hope is that they may see that this is a less stressful, more fulfilling way to live.

    My hope is that the world finds a way, no matter what uncontrollable circumstance is thrown at them, to ultimately find happiness and to love more.