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Preparation is a Long-Game

Greetings all, I hope this finds you well! As you’ve likely seen it’s been a chaotic week and a half here in the south eastern part of Florida. This region spent the week before Labor Day preparing for what could have been a direct hit from a Category 4 hurricane watching it churn over the Bahamas increasing in strength. When the projections changed to show the potential for the storm to move north and east of Miami it was hard to be relieved knowing the damage that had already been done and what was to come for those up the coast. If you were impacted by the storm, I’m sorry. Please let me and the community know what we can do to help. A huge thank you to anyone serving on rescue and recovery teams!

This was my first big storm watch since moving here. I’m used to a different kind of storm, coming from a state where a medium storm brings 6-12 inches of snow and a childhood formed by The Ice Storm of ’98. Things are different during a hurricane. The mindset changes days, even a week in advance. From overheard conversations to stores sold out of necessities and multiple hours queued for water, the world of hurricane preparation is a curiosity, especially to someone new to it like me. Of all the sage wisdom, government recommendations, expert advice and common sense lessons there was one thing I learned that stuck out beyond the rest.

Preparation for a storm should start long before you ever see clouds on the horizon.

By the time a big one comes your way you should be fortified, ready, confident that you have what you need, and able to put a plan into place as things change. You should have water stored somewhere and while the oldest stuff on the shelf might need a refresh, you aren’t starting from scratch. Your pantry should have a good stock of sustenance for you and anyone relying on you for nourishment. You should know what to do and when and have a back-up plan in place.

While this revelation put hurricane season into perspective for me, I have been thinking about how beautiful this analogy is for all of life.

My mum would say that it’s the same way with your faith, don’t wait until you’re desperate to start building it, build the relationship you need before you get to the scary parts of life.

The skills you need to handle the ridiculous, impossible, devastating things in life are best built in calm times, when you don’t think you’ll ever need them.
Start now to learn how to manage stress so that you have a system in place when life gets overwhelming.
Learn how to eat well for your body today, before a health issue knocks you for a loop.
Build your relationships little by little, in the everyday things, and when you are desperate for support, those people will already be with you.
Work on the thoughts that you know are detrimental to your wellness and happiness. Change them now and put yourself in better footing for the challenges that will come.

And keep them fresh! Water stored on a shelf for three years no longer counts as potable water ready for use should you need it. That meditation you did two months ago isn’t protection against stress for the rest of the year. Even Spaghetti-Os have a ‘Best By’ date. Your self-love does too! If you see your skills and mental fortifications getting stale, do something to refresh them. Read some new books, take a class, talk to a friend, listen to a podcast. Keep those thought pathways clear. Keep the truths you need in the front of your mind.

Remember I said “better footing”. Not perfect footing. You will not prepare yourself out of some really hard time. That junk that happens is still gonna be really hard. Working to grow yourself in areas that you know you are vulnerable won’t keep you from taking damage. I can guarantee though, that you’ll come out on the other side in much better shape than if you hadn’t been working.

In doing my hurricane preparedness research I read about an amazing house built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, the highest level on the current scale. It stands on huge pylons along a stretch of beach and in the miles of coastline north and south, it alone survived hurricane Andrew in ‘92. The heartiest structure, made by experts out of high quality materials, and it still needed some pretty extensive repairs.

It survived; it weathered the storm. But it still needed help to recover. Do what you can to be strong; emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically, and don’t be discouraged when you still have hard days. They are the days that make you grateful that you were so prepared. Imagine how hard they would be if you hadn’t been investing in your relationships and mindset and faith and body.

Much love from a preparedness newbie. May we learn together to be prepared. May our work keep us strong and keep us going. And may our preparations enable us to share our strength with others. ❤

 

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