Start with the facts ma’am, nothing but the facts

I packed fewer bras during my second evacuation.

I’m not sure why I thought that Hurricane Ian (my first hurricane as a FL resident in 2022) would require extensive support, but for some reason, I packed 10 bras when I headed inland to escape the storm.

And 14 pairs of shoes.

And an IKEA lamp??!

But I forgot the photo albums.

I was kind of freaking out.

This year, when Hurricane Idalia was headed up my driveway, I pulled out the list I’d made post-Ian, and I only packed 2 bras, no lamps and all the memory boxes! I was still freaking out though.

Evacuating is a strange process.  Both times right after I made the decision to evacuate, I spent about 10 minutes randomly walking back and forth from room to room, (basically running around in circles) saying, “ok, what am I going to do?  What do I need to do?  What needs to go?  Do I really need to go?  What if the house blows away?  I’d be like Dorothy but without the Lollipop Guild.  Maybe I can hide in the closet.”  Then I give myself a little smack and sit down.

Rational Me: How do you feel?

Hyperventilating Me: Scared!  Rushed!  Questioning my decision. Unsure.  Glad I have somewhere to go.  Mostly scared.

Rational Me: Ok!  Totally fair, but you’ve got a job to do.

Panicking me: (breathes into a paper bag)

Rational Me: Ok, a hurricane is coming.  We have no control over that fact, so let’s start from there.  What can we control here?

Frightened Me: 1. What I take with me.  2. How I prep the house for whatever is about to happen.  3. Stopping at Taco Bell for a Mexican pizza and some churros on the way to Lisa’s because there are no calories during a hurricane! 

Rational Me: Good!  Start there.

CAVEAT: a lot of people say “I can control my attitude” which is true, but at this moment, and in many other mild/moderate crisis moments with family, work and Canasta, it’s not the attitude as much as the action.  Once you’re out of the crisis moment and you’re at the “wait to see what happens” part, then the attitude comes in.  Obviously, you don’t want to be a butt-head while you’re dealing with the crisis, but that’s just basic human decency! 

Once I’ve faced the facts, I have a starting point and I’m able to be a lot more agile.  The hardest part is being honest with myself.   “Worst case scenario, the house fills up with water and everything is destroyed.  What are you going to wish you had with you?”  It’s not a fun line of thinking, but I can’t control that a hurricane is coming, so I might as well take a deep breath and be honest with myself.

Otherwise I end up with a lot of bras, and no family heirlooms!

Next step, “ok, more likely scenario, a foot of water gets in the house.  How can you minimize the damage if that happens.”   Then I move everything up as much as possible, and take a video in case insurance needs it.

Then, it’s time to GTFO, hit Taco Bell and wait it out.  (cue Attitude!)

SO next time you find yourself running around in circles physically or mentally in response to an unwanted crisis, change or unknown scenario, ask these questions.

-  What are the facts?  What is out of my control?

-  With that in mind…what CAN I control?  What can I do something about right now?  What’s the best NEXT THING to do.  (I can’t worry about tomorrow because I have no clue what’s going to happen.  What’s the best thing to do right now?)

Sometimes it’s our mindset around DE&I Initiatives at work.  Sometimes it’s the new computer system or the new boss, or a doctor’s prognosis.  Maybe it’s your teenager’s unexpected announcement that challenges how you thought things were going to be.  Or perhaps it’s a layoff.  Or a hurricane.  Stop, be honest with yourself and start with the facts.  You’ll spend a lot less time running in circles, and a whole lot more time enjoying that Mexican Pizza.

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