Remember Hurricane Matthew a couple of weeks ago? It pummeled a heck of a lot. Storms can be so scary. But even when classified ahead of time as potentially historic events, they’re easy to downplay in spite of the build up and hype, because they usually come clear out of the blue. Literally sunny, gorgeous blue-sky weather turns ugly on a dime. You know it’s coming from the high-tech radar, the spot-on predictions and the images of the areas it’s hit on its path headed toward you, but it’s hard to appreciate because of the calm before the storm.
We were fortunate this one didn’t make it to our northeast coast, we are usually a storm hub. But even if it did, some of us are a little lax when it comes to pre-storm prep. I’m always perplexed at what we might need. Batteries, check. Bottled water, check. Peanut butter and bread, check. I’m not good at disaster planning, so I tend to draw a blank when I have to consider what life might look like in the wake of a violent storm. My brain just freezes up. Then as the storm approaches, I close my eyes and hope for the best.
Not my friend L though – she’s a seasoned survivor of sorts, a hearty lifelong New Englander, and high-level nurse who is used to major catastrophes. Not only has she seen a lot in her life, she’s endured a lot. So when Category 4 Matthew was predicted to hit her new Carolina coastal home where she recently moved, she didn’t bat an eye.
As the pre-storm prep began around her and people were not only rushing out to get their supplies, but evacuating for safe ground, she sat at Starbucks sipping her latte watching the hectic craze. Her husband calmly got the generator ready, stocked up on food for the dogs and secured the last jar of peanut butter on the grocery store shelf. L wasn’t worried.
Until Starbucks put a sign on the door – Closing early Friday for three days due to Hurricane Matthew.
This simply would not due. Recovering from a serious health issue, L sits in Starbucks every afternoon enjoying some quiet time. It’s her healing respite place, where for an hour she gets lost in peaceful relief. It’s her safe self-care spot.
Self-care is a big deal – and not something many of us take too seriously unless there’s an incoming storm. L only recently learned about self-care since she’s spent her life caring for others. Now it’s her turn – not even by choice, but by necessity – and it’s a new concept for her. It’s hard to shift gears, and takes practice, time and daily commitment. How could she tend to herself if Starbucks was going to be closed?
So she stocked up on three days worth of her specialty drink – her preparation for the storm. Whatever it takes she thought – a hurricane is an invasion on her healing time.
That’s my life story – invasions on my healing time. When I finally opt in for self-care, it’s often usurped by someone or something that in that moment appears more pressing. It seems when we need to rest or recover, unless our issues are visible or in plain sight, it’s hard for people to comprehend.
Although she wasn’t particularly safe batten-down in her home, L made it through without any repercussions. She texted me in the thick of it, a cup of cold Starbucks by her side. “This is horrible. Next time I’m heading out if it’s higher than Category 1.”
Self-care…in the eye of the storm.