How To Survive The Storm That Is Life

dramatic view of village houses damaged by thunderstorm

Like a hurricane, life is an unpredictable storm. But how you react can mean the difference between destruction and recovery. Here’s a few tips to help you!

by Jordan Paul | Jordan Paul, passionately passionate about all the passions…and bread, comes at you with spunk and honesty as she’s trying to balance life as a tandem-breastfeeding mom of two girls, small business owner, and non-cleaning housewife. You can find her roaming the aisles of Aldi, mindlessly humming The Alphabet. Follow her on Facebook.

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As a self-proclaimed professional eater, I’ll admit that in 2017 when I heard the words spaghetti model and hurricane cones, I thought we were talking about new dinner entrees I’d be indulging in soon. Turns out, those are common terms in figuring out whether or not you’re going to get hit with a major hurricane… which we have. 

If you’ve ever been threatened by a severe storm like a hurricane, you know that just prior, you’re scrambling to make sure that all of your most important possessions are in one place in case you need to pick up and go, you’re locking every storm shutter, filling up your car, and carrying loads of furniture to be stacked up in the garage like the final level of Tetris. It’s stressful.

In the days leading up to the storm, it seems that every single person comes out of hiding in a frantic search for the last roll of toilet paper, the last can of corn, and the last case of water. But I, the Italian hoarder, knew we already were stocked up on that stuff, so I made sure to grab delicious candy and bottles of alcohol.

Hurricane Irma loomed over our house for days; the cones, the bands, the inedible spaghetti…and I’ll never forget the feeling sitting there during the storm, looking through a little two-inch clear panel of our storm shutters, watching our lives transform. We got spared; our house suffered very little, we never lost power, and as a result, we could put boots on the second it passed to help others who didn’t fare so well. And literally, once the storm passed and the town was put back together, it became a distant memory.

We still reside in Southwest Florida and were hit again by yet another hurricane, Hurricane Ian. Because of this, I have been prompted to reflect. Much of life is like a storm, and I’d like to share with all of you, the lessons I have come to learn.

Sometimes you can plan for the bad, other times it just happens.

It would be a lot easier if we all had news stations and phone alerts going off every second to help us prepare for the worst parts of life. I’d like to think if we knew when those things would happen, we would say more kind words to those we love, tie up loose ends, and cross off some things on our bucket lists. There is no rhyme or reason to who gets terrible lots of life. If you’re able to plan for the bad parts, you’re lucky. But sometimes, things just happen and you have to be able to roll with the punches. There is always so much to be thankful for, regardless of the circumstances, even when you’re left facing the storm head-on.

Make sure you’re spending time with the people you can’t live without.

Take note that I didn’t say, spend your days with people you can tolerate. Life is too short and motherhood too hard to be spending it with people who drain you of energy or take away simple joys in life. Instead, make sure you’re investing time with and in people who challenge you, support you, encourage you, make you laugh, and who you simply can’t breathe at the thought of being without them. When life gets messy or there is a reason to celebrate, who are the people you think of calling? Make it your days’ work to pour into those people and don’t miss a chance to let them know how you feel.

Always carry items for survival. 

In 2009, I ran the Chicago Marathon. For the months of preparation, I had snacks and survivalist items (tissue, aspirin, coins, etc.) in my training belt for our weekly runs. I got ragged on so bad every Saturday by my training team. Guess who were the ones who needed an item out of my belt on race day? Yep. You guessed right… the people who relentlessly joked about my unnecessary practicality. The truth is, you just never know when you’re going to be trapped inside during a storm, stuck in traffic too long, in the waiting room forever, or see a hungry human in the street. So try to carry snacks and other survival items, always. 

Stay grounded… planted.

If you’ve ever seen a palm tree in a storm, you’ll notice how it has the capability to nearly kiss the ground in the thick of it, yet still spring back to its original form after each blow. Be like the palm tree. Things will happen all around you but it’s how you respond to those circumstances that will make you come out ahead. Be flexible but root yourself in your identity.  Go with the moment and know that even if parts of you shed and fall, you can regrow and be ready to do it all again… only better and stronger. 

Know the sun will come out tomorrow.

One of the most brutal truths of nature is that to see a rainbow, you have to wait out the storm. In the moment, it seems like it will never pass but it does and that’s when you can see the beautiful colors making their way out over the sky. The sun will shine again, a new day will present itself, and you will have a chance to tell everyone of your victory. Your kids will ignore you, but I’ll be cheering you on!

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