“A hundred-year storm” was I phrase I heard politicians and meteorologists use to describe this mysterious Sandy. With the memory of Hurricane Irene still fresh in my mind, I figured that once again these warnings were an exaggeration, nothing more than a precaution.
The Sunday evening before the storm, I sat and finished homework honestly expecting that I would be returning to school the next morning as I had done every morning that school had been in session. As I sat with every light, television, radio, and laptop on, I watched the wind pick up outside. The lights began to flicker off and on and eventually gave out. Having already experienced a five-day blackout following Hurricane Irene, I was neither shocked nor terribly concerned by the loss of power. It never occurred to me that, unlike during Hurricane Irene, it was winter.
The next day, I found that Lawrence Woodmere Academy was closed. Listening to the radio that morning, my family and I began to hear of the destruction the storm had caused. The Jersey Shore had been washed away entirely, lives lost, and several Long Island areas had been hit hard. I immediately thought of my friends in communities like Long Beach and the Rockaways, but I could barely send a text next-door. As the days went by and the gas lines became impossible, my family and I sought ways to entertain ourselves and keep warm. We’d nearly reached our breaking point when a Long Island Power Authority truck finally appeared at our front door. Hours later the power was back on.
Returning to school after a week seemed strange, especially considering the number of students who still were not there. When I heard the stories of entire homes being flooded, and people losing everything, I was shocked. My week without power suddenly seemed to be a much smaller inconvenience. With the flip of a switch my life returned to normalcy; unfortunately for many this is not the case.
My lesson to you is simple: be grateful for the luxuries you do have, and never take for granted what you believe you are entitled to. This holiday season, be thankful for your loved-ones, be thankful for your own life. Celebrate that which you do have, rather than concern yourself with what you do not.