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What Hurricane Irma Can Teach Floridians, And All Of Us, About Our Biggest Flaws

Of humans and hurricanes.

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My thoughts and prayers are with the islands in the Caribbean already affected by Irma, and areas in South Florida.

I’m writing this from a pitch-black room in Clearwater, Florida.

No, no. The hurricane hasn’t even reached Florida yet. The sun is shining on a cloudless blue sky. My dad has just decided to board up every window in the house for when if it gets here.

If you haven’t heard, Hurricane Irma is making her way to the Sunshine State (awkward) at full force, while currently heading through the Caribbean.

Unfortunately, that means everyone in the state at level-10 panic, panic that is completely unnecessary.

I’m a born and raised Floridian from Pinellas County, a small peninsula within the state peninsula. We have been #blessed in our area that we have avoided major storms hitting us directly, but we are no stranger to hurricanes, what they mean and how to prep for one.

Hurricane season begins on June 1 in the Atlantic and runs until November 30 (according to the National Weather Service), and the peak season is between August and October. We know this. Every local weather station on the first will inform you that hurricane season is here, loud and proud. Checklists are available in early summer.

Make sure you have jugs of water, batteries and perishable items. Your windows, roof and garage door should be to code. Make sure your pets are registered for a shelter. You should have coolers and first aid kits and matches and candles and a battery-powered portable DVD player for the kids entertainment.

And here we are, in the midst of a storm, like we’re in the middle of the freaking Hunger Games. People are clawing at each other for the things we know we’re supposed to have.

Seriously, there are videos of people attacking each other over plywood and water.

Now, I’m not sitting here taking hurricanes lightly. They are obviously dangerous and shouldn’t be dealt with nonchalantly.

However, unlike with tornadoes and other spontaneous disasters, we know that hurricanes are coming and we usually get some prep time while the ‘canes head this way.

In watching my fellow Floridians freak over the uncertainty of the storm, it made me think about how we handle many other aspects of our lives.

How many instances do we begin to panic over having to juggle multiple situations in our lives, without stepping back?

Sometimes, so many issues can be avoided if we just took the time to look at our checklists and plan. This can go for our personal lives, jobs, families and relationships.

Sometimes, I think we are fueled by anxiety and we allow that to drive our actions instead of just being prepared. We allow the fact that we’re moving now to be enough, when we could have been moving weeks, months or years ago.

Sometimes, the panic is unnecessary, but a choice.

However, I sit in a dark room because the windows are covered by boards cut 12 years ago in prep for a possible storm.

I hope this storm does the least damage as possible, and serves as a reminder to people in this state, and around the country, that being a little too prepared isn’t a bad idea.

It’s better than getting beat over the head with plywood at Home Depot.


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I'm a 20-something journalist with a love of all things black. Do I mean the color, or the people? Yes.
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