A Week. Four Lessons. A Return With a Whimper.

I got lost last week in a storm that landed 3500 miles from me. I did that endless bounce from The New York Times to Facebook to the Guardian to my neighborhood message board to The Star-Ledger to my local Patch. . . on and on and on. I’m not really sure what I was looking for. The magical news that everything was fixed? Superman spun the earth backwards and the hurricane never happened? Everybody who wants to can just move to London now? It was an endless loop–born out of feeling totally out of the loop.

As I write this, the family living in our NJ home still doesn’t have power, the beauty of the easy commute to NYC from the NJ “Midtown Direct” suburbs is a total joke, and my neighborhood message board is all too often blowing up with self-righteous, myopic rage (though to be fair, living in the dark and cold for over a week would probably push me to the edge too.)

It’s not pretty.

And then, I spent Saturday nursing a puking a four-year-old.

And THEN, the universe paid me back for my kindness to my daughter by sending ME puking for 24 hours.

AND THEN, my guilt set in at feeling self-pity over a 24-hour bug as I convalesced in a luxurious, firmly standing house–fully powered and richly heated.

As always, self-awareness is a bitch.

So. . . A Busted Flush of Simple Lessons I Learned from the Storm and Spending the Weekend After It Throwing Up:

1. In times of crisis, able folks start getting in one of two lines: “Those Who Act” and “Those Who Blame.” The great thing about being a sentient being is that YOU GET TO CHOOSE THE LINE.

2. If you have your health, people you love and who love you back, you’re lucky no matter what else life throws at you, and if you forget that–you’re going to lose your luck.

3. When times are hard, simple presence is all you can offer.

4. Always have a bucket in your house. I repeat: ALWAYS HAVE A BUCKET.

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