In the eye of the storm when the lights were off, and the Internet was down, what did you do? When your iPhone died, and your facebook couldn't send you any requests, what did your mind focus on? In the middle of our political storm, where a hurricane of emotions and frustrations have been coming from both sides, in the middle of our economic crisis, our health care crisis, our education crisis, a storm hit NYC shutting us all up.
It felt refreshing. I was able to spend an entire day reading with a candle next to me instead of anxiously checking my emails and wondering who was liking my facebook status. I was able to reflect and think of how little the rest of the world has, and how lucky I was to be "unfortunate" in the pitch black dark in my Soho loft. I received text messages from friends I would never expect to hear from asking me if I needed anything and if I was ok. When the lights shut off, and the noise stopped, my mind finally rested. Days of travel, of brainstorms, of back and forths for what I want for myself stopped. Instead, I just sat and rested while the 75 mph wind practically blew my roof off.
The political election has the world's eyes on the USA, and NYC, as the hub of our financial market has the USA's eyes on it practically all of the time, and yet Sandy came in and decided to fill the stock exchange floor with three feet of water and shut off all power below 35th street, and you know what? NYC survived. We had no control over Sandy, and I believe from reading a lot of people's angry remarks about where the U.S. currently stands financially, a lot of citizens, (ahem Occupy Wallstreet), feel like we don't have any control over what is happening to us financially.
I am not making a political statement, I am merely stating facts. I am not even coming close to commenting on the political storm happening currently, as I will be swept away rather than sitting safely in my apartment, but I am touching upon the fact we are lucky enough to have resources, tools, precautionary advice so we can prepare, educate ourselves, stock up on a lot of imperishable foods and make sure we have batteries to stay safe. Do I think this is the recipe to save us in so much wrong currently? Absolutely not, but I do think it could never hurt to shut your computer, your TV, your bank account, to just be at home with the people you love resting and figuring out what is important to you.
Sandy forced us to stop, but why should it take such a force for us to realize sometimes it's just about appreciating what you have, loving those who are worried about you, and keeping yourself protected from the storm around you. Since this recent power loss, and for some very unfortunate individuals who lost so much more, the concept of appreciation has come up in conversation time and time again.
I was speaking with one friend, Kosta Grammatis who started an organization called A Human Right, which focuses on providing Internet access to the 68 percent percent of the world who isn't worried about losing their Internet because they have never had the chance to ever have it in the first place. His vision is when you provide Internet access to impoverished regions of the world, it is essentially a way to solve many of their problems, such as shortages of food, potable water, and health care. He recently launched a campaign asking individuals after Sandy to tell their stories of their internet loss.
After a long day in Staten Island volunteering and listening to these people's stories and after a long year all over the country listening to my friends who are doing work on the ground all over the world, who are in the non-profit space day in and day out, it made me realize something. It should not take a natural disaster to wake up. There is so much to do, so much to give, so much to offer to the world before a crisis. All we can do is appreciate what we have, do our best, be our best, and never take anything for granted.