How To Handle Hurricanes And Other Life Changing Events

Photography by Bradford Chase

What happens when life changes dramatically, without warning, virtually overnight?

My imagination sees this story unfold for one unexpecting subject:

Comfortably resting on a sturdy branch high above the forest floor, I surveyed my surroundings. My life is simple, relaxed, predictable. I provide shade for the creatures below me and work to turn sunlight and carbon dioxide into sugar energy for my tree and oxygen for the critters below. What a life other’s envy, hanging out in the sunshine.

Easy until that day everything changed. I went to sleep a leaf and dreamed I was a starfish. When I awoke, I had fallen from my tree and landed in a puddle. The experience was exhilarating, but now I’m wet and cold and want to be back where I belong.

Life is full of surprises. Especially if you are a leaf and unprepared for the changing seasons; but us human types also need to be on our toes.

I know my entire world can change in the blink of an eye. I can’t plan for every contingency.

Unpredictable weather and terrible storms are changing life for thousands of people right now. I’ve lived through these, I’ve seen the destruction, and I’ve felt the disruption such events bring to life.

But I’m learning to adapt to those surprises when they present, and I believe attitude is the most important part of being prepared.

I may lack control of my situation, but I have complete control of my attitude.

Circumstances and the world around me will bring changes in the weather, changes to my plans, and present me with a new and exciting challenge every day.

But no one can affect my attitude without me allowing them that power.

I used to believe, “they really made me mad!” until I realized no one on earth can control my emotions other than me.

They can act, but I chose my reaction.


External forces have the potential to change my mood. Watching and feeling everything I’ve worked to build fall apart before my eyes is heartbreaking.

But, deciding to be happy, sad, mad, accepting, motivated to change, dedicated to moving forward; all these are ultimately mine to control.

If I let circumstances or someone else’s behavior or attitude affect me, that is always a choice left only to me.

… and between you and me; I don’t want to give that much power and control over my day and my spirit to someone or something else…

I am not a big fan of surprises and I don’t like to be mad or upset any more than I have to, so I work to face my challenges on an even keel.

Please don’t misunderstand this idea as trying to downplay the catastrophic impact of death or widespread destruction. Some events require the processing of strong emotions to maintain sanity. I understand that.

And yes, I still get angry and I still get sad, but I let myself feel those emotions when I want to or I feel I need to; not because someone else tried ruining my day.

The leaf had a life-changing event and now has to deal with it. Tree life is over, but playing starfish for a while may be the next best thing.

Life isn’t easy. We all have our battles to fight and our struggles to overcome.

Tragedy affects us. We respond with sorrow, go through the emotions we must to handle the impact of the situation.

But then we decide to believe in ourselves and our power to move forward. We make the decision to let the anger or the sadness go; it is the anchor holding us back from our journey.

The power of the human spirit is a force to be reckoned with when you let it fight.

The tragedy is a part of the journey we didn’t plan for, but it doesn’t signal the journey is over; we’ve only taken on a detour we didn’t expect.

People do cruel and unusual things. We respond if we must, but the same rules apply.

I believe if I control my attitude, then I maintain control of my satisfaction with life and I remain ready to take on the next best thing that shows up for me.

I take pictures & write stories. Sometimes I get paid. A perpetual student of life who gets lost on purpose. Clap. Hit Follow. Come along for the ride.

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