If you live in the U.S.A, chances are you spent the last few days closely following Irma’s path. (For those who live in other countries and/ or might not know – Irma is a hurricane, which already devastated some of the islands of The Bahamas, as well as other islands on the Atlantic, and is said to bring more destruction to the States.) If you live in Florida, chances are you will not be reading this, because you are too busy fortifying your house, you might lose electricity or your Internet connection. Maybe you managed to flee to a currently safer state. Or maybe you decided to “ride it out” in Florida and you will be just fine.
I am fully aware that lots of houses in the US are built like a house of cards (a mild gust of wind and it is in ruins), but it is not only the wind, but the flooding that does tremendous damage to houses and livestock. It will take a long time to rebuild some parts of Texas (after hurricane Harvey), but hopefully, stronger/ better prepared houses will emerge. Same with Florida…
Nature is beautiful, but it is also deadly.
While a lot of people tried to get out of the hurricane’s way, some ran right into it. I am not sure why. For bragging rights? For fame? For a cool photo? Richard Branson (founder of the Virgin Group) decided to wait out the hurricane on his private island of Necker (Caribbean island). While authorities told people to stay away (if possible), he did not care for those warnings. Since he is quite rich, he did go in prepared. The satellite phone enabled him to make contact with the rest of the world, after all other means of communication failed. Him and his family/ friends did not simply chill on the beach, but they hid in an underground bunker. His shelter was specifically designed to withstand all sorts of crazy winds. While some of his guests left early, others postponed their visit, he himself decided to stay, since he has witnessed other hurricanes in the past. You can easily find a couple of pictures of him and his companions at the above-mentioned house. What I am trouble finding is pictures of the rest of the island POST hurricane. Richard claims it was totally destroyed. Him and his crew remain safe.
There are a few other celebrities, who own properties in the area. I have not seen anything definite yet, but their summer homes might get damaged in the hurricane process. However devastating it must be (losing a summer home or having to repair something) for the celebrities, one cannot equate that with what average citizens of those affected islands might have lost. Some people had to leave EVERYTHING behind in order to save their own lives. Some people LOST their lives. What is a million dollars here or there for the rich and famous? Right?
Priorities are such a relative thing. We (people from different countries, economic backgrounds, of different religions), do not worry about the same things on a daily basis. While there are some things we NEED to live (i.e. food), some of us have to worry about it more than others do. But does that mean that those who worry less about the basics are bad people? Circumstances differ. They are not universal. I am far from rich and/or famous by my standards, but I bet someone in the world considers me to be one or the other. Or even both.
This week has had me under some pressure, since I have been struggling with some issues of my own. I preach: “be calm and collective”, but sometimes things pile up, people cause problems one after another, and you just need to vent. While I kept checking the weather news, I ranted about my angst on unrelated topics. I felt bad, but kept pushing the guild further, to the back of my head. Today, I was frustrated because my new Internet (company 2) stopped working only minutes after the technician left. Shortly after, my backup Internet (company 1) stopped working as well. It is the weekend, so I panicked that I would be facing 2.5 days without the Internet. Oh, the tragedy, right? All this mess prompted me to call a troubleshooter (close friend of mine), who unfortunately was busy trying to prepare for the hurricane. It is not like I was oblivious, but that was when it hit me – How dare I worry about petty things? People fight for their lives right now. Humans struggle every day. Sometimes they make it, sometimes they do not. As you can see by this blog, miraculously, both my Internets came back. (Hallelujah!)
This is actually something I struggle with every now and then. Because I do not like to complain about myself too much, when I do go on binge complaining, I find myself figuratively slapping myself so that I wake up and get my priorities straight. “Others have it worse.” “You should be happy you’re alive.” “You have so much to be grateful for.” “That is not really a problem.” And it helps. It enables me to take a second and re-assess my issues. It calms down my frenzy, giving me the time to figure out which problems are real problems and what I can do to solve them. If there is nothing I can do, I begin to move on. However, after that initial stun is over, I do caress myself a bit. It is not fair to minimize our own problems, just because others have “bigger” issues. Our problems are relative to OUR lives. While I wish no one was homeless and/ or starving, that is not the case, and I should not beat myself up too much for wanting a working Internet connection. While I roll my eyes when billionaires talk about damages to their private islands, I do understand that that is a part of THEIR world. A part of THEIR issue. And they are entitled to complain about it.
Here is to us all – those who worry about the hurricane, those who worry about their next meal, those who worry about their private islands, those who worry about their grey hair. Your worries are valid, but sometimes, take a step back and re-evaluate.