ode to old new york.

Monday, November 05, 2012

I have the amazing privilege to live in one of the best cities in the world: New York. I was lucky enough to be unaffected by Hurricane Sandy (although my boyfriend and a ton of my friends were), but the devastation I've seen across the tri-state area has brought tears to my eyes and broken my heart over the past few days. Fearing for the lives of my friends and family, the unknown of what destruction lies outside, and the realization that a lot of things are truly out of our hands has been a frightening experience. Seeing a half-lit NYC, boardwalks being ripped off by the storm, businesses completely unrecognizable, houses nonexistent, and lives lost has put a lot into perspective for me.

Appreciate everything you have-- whether it's a half a tank of gas or a the ability to put your lights on. I know people who still do not have power and don't even have generators to warm their houses on these frigid nights. Be thankful you have a warm bed to sleep in, a computer to use to complain on Facebook, and a TV to distract you from your homework-- seriously.
Always tell the people closest to you how much you care. I know that I texted every single person I could and texted others if I hadn't heard from them to see how they were doing. Just the thoughts of someone I know being one of the people who had died during the storm is probably the scariest feeling I had experienced in a while, and I hope none of us ever have to again.

Appreciate your life-- it sounds so trivial and cliche, but to think that all that you have can be stripped away in a few days is something we rarely consider but is all the while possible. No food on the shelves at the supermarket? No gas in the pumps outside? Then what? I've been stressed out at work trying to figure out what in the world I would do without a way to get to school or work with my gas dwindling. Forget gas! What would we do without trucks being unable to deliver food to our stores? How long would we survive? Suddenly those wishlists and wants disappear and survival mode kicks in-- appreciate the fact that you're not like that 24/7.

And, most importantly, do good to others, for we are all fighting our own hard battles. We tend to forget this part after our electricity has come back on for a day or 2, when our gas tanks are more than full, and when we just want to get home from work. Don't forget-- someone driving alongside of you may not be as fortunate. That person you're ringing up with the attitude may be out just to get out of her freezing cold house. And that there are far worse things that could happen than to you spilling coffee on your blouse or being late to work or not finding a parking space or getting home on time. Be thankful you have a home to go home to! That person behind you not paying attention when switching into your lane may not be as lucky.

At the end of the day, I know the goodness of everyone in the areas affected by Sandy will be what brings us back to status quo. We have been through disaster and destruction before, but in times like this it truly shows how amazing we are as New Yorkers (& New Jersey-ans, & Connecticutians). We have this uncanny ability to put our differences aside, come together, and rebuild it all. And we will bounce back a million times stronger. We always do.

I truly cannot wait for Hurricane Sandy to be in the rear-view mirror, for electricity bills to be through the roof for those affected, for houses and businesses and people to be back in one piece and booming again, and for the lights of New York City to shine brighter than ever.

Hurricane Sandy Relief
If you're located in NYC, here's a list of places where you can volunteer your time.
If not, you can always make a donation to the Red Cross to help Hurricane Sandy victims.

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