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Post Hurricane Reflections: Be Patient; Be Curious; Be Foolish

I’m sitting in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. This hurricane was so massive it impacted the entire peninsula of Florida. The Keys have never sustained such impact and upon its exit, Irma gave us the proverbial “middle finger” as it caused the St. John’s River to overflow and flood Jacksonville.

The official estimate of power outage was 6.5 million. A revised estimate puts that total at 13 million — in a state with a population of 20 million.

Hurricane Irma


While very grateful, my husband and I are struggling with some “survivors” guilt since we still have power. We live in an area of Central Florida where the utility lines are buried. We are offering our house, showers, beds, air conditioning, coffee pot, washing machine, and refrigerator to friends who are sweltering in air conditioning-impaired homes with rapidly defrosting refrigerators and NO COFFEE.

So aside from a hurricane hang-over, what is a take-away from this experience? Here are a few thoughts I’m saying to myself:

#1 First and foremost – Don’t be a jerk!

I have that tendency, I must confess. I get very cranky queuing in long lines or getting caught in traffic jams. Behaviors I saw pre-hurricane were kind of appalling — people fist fighting over propane tanks, hoarding water, and snatching that last grill out from under an elderly man at a Home Depot. Seriously.

Let’s hope we can find more patience in our post-hurricane behavior because frankly, waiting for Duke energy or Florida Power & Light trucks will summon up all the patience we have in our psychic arsenal.

#2 Get creative.

If I believe there is such a thing as “sin”, wasting time would be at the top of my sin list. Yes, it is bloody hot. Yes, the cable is down so there’s no television or Internet. Yes, there is no electricity to even cook a meal inside the house.

But what else can you say “yes” to which can actually bolster your spirits?

Yes, I can finally spend quality time with people I love rather than running hither and yon checking off to-do lists. (Although by now you may actually be a little tired of each other, given the pre-amble to the hurricane). Time is a commodity. What are we going to do with this precious gift? As my kids and I used to say, “Make lemonade out of chicken shit,” (When they were older of course).

Make a fun concoction out of food you have in the pantry or expiring in the refrigerator. Or even make a science experiment out of it. Actually do something creative — play or make musical instruments; instead of watching television, half of you be the television and the other half the audience. Draw, color, paint, sculpt.

#3 Go on an adventure.

Whether on foot, bicycle, or by car, get out of the house and explore. The roads are or will be cleared of danger in many areas. Get out of town.


I don’t mean to sound Pollyanna about our plights. Conditions are rough right now without a doubt. But our attitudes toward this situation can be life changing.

How often do we have the opportunity to be curious, to be a little foolish (even if we’re forced to be, due to lack of normalcy)? Where ever and whenever possible — have fun with this gift of time!

Stay hungry, stay foolish



Liz Kitchens is a writer and blogger.  Her blog, Be Brave. Lose the Beige, reaches out to Lady Boomers, women of the Baby Boomer generation. Liz also blogs for Growing Bolder and Vibrant Nation, two sites devoted to aging issues. Liz conducts workshops on the health benefits of creativity and is an ambassador for the Creative Caregiving Initiative sponsored by the NCCA, The National Center for Creative Aging. Liz founded the Jeremiah Project, an after school and summer creative arts program designed to foster self esteem and encourage creative thinking among at risk middle school aged students.

Check out Liz’s blog, Be Brave. Lose The Beige, and follow her on Facebook.

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