Monday, June 17, 2013

Riding Out the Storm: What's Your Plan?

Perhaps because I'm getting older and am starting to notice the things "older folks" love to lament about, I've been very aware of the hostile storm patterns that seem to be increasingly plaguing many parts of the country as of late. In fact, the term "derecho" was never a part of my vocabulary until one collapsed my backyard fence in 2011 on the weekend of my birthday. It was both frightening and disheartening but, luckily, my insurance covered the damage and within a few weeks after waiting on money from my insurance company and selecting a fencing company, I came home after work to a brand new fence, which is even sturdier than its predecessor and still stands today, despite the many storms we continue to have.

That got me to thinking about storms of all kinds; not just the ones with wind and rains but those "storms" that show up as unexpected trials and tribulations in our life, be it health issues, job losses, the ending of relationships, or even the death of loved ones. And what I've discovered is that the same preparedness measures we take to protect ourselves and our surroundings from physical harm, can be applied to how we ready ourselves for life's "unexpectancies" as well.

1. Have a Plan--Most evacuations plans start with just that: a plan. In other words, a strategy of how you will get out of a tough situation if the unexpected should happen. If you lose your job tomorrow, do you have six months of your salary saved to sustain you? If major surgery is needed, do you have insurance that will cover you? If your partner should suddenly leave or pass away, can you continue to take care of yourself and your children be it through life insurance or other financial support? Many people live by the "wait and see" or "it will never happen to me" ideology. Here's the reality: "waiting to see" already puts you miles behind the starting line and "thinking it will never happen to me" will almost guarantee that it will. Don't be wishful; be smart and prepared.

2. Stock Up on Your Supplies--This directly ties into point number 1. Access your financial stability. If you are no where close to having six months of your salary saved, it's time to work your side hustles or look for a part-time job in order to earn enough funds to cushion your account. Pass on the daily Starbucks and stash that money into your savings as well. As my mom used to say, "Pennies make dollars" and every little bit helps. Also, if you work for a company that will reimburse you for your education, take advantage of gaining all of the knowledge you can while you can! A close friend who had been on her job for several years planned to eventually finish her bachelor's degree. When she was unexpectedly laid off, she found herself older, more in debt, and still without a degree, which made it even tougher for her to compete in the job market today. Remember: Never delay what you can start working on today.

As for preparedness when it comes to health, if you have medical insurance, get your annual exams without question! Women's wellness exams. Mammograms. Lab work. Eye checkups. Dental care. The body works much like an automobile and one part breaking down can quickly affect the other parts. Not preventing illnesses can not only cost you time, money--and in some cases your job--it can also cost you your life. As is said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Let proactivity be your first line of defense!

3. Find Shelter--In the common sense "finding shelter" means to do so inside a physical structure; however, when facing life's trials, it's important to find a place where you can "go within" to meditate, pray, consult, and get clarity. Be it church, a prayer group, or a counselor, never underestimate the therapeutic benefits of talking through your situation with someone willing to listen and hold your hand through the tough times. There is strength in numbers, even if that number is increased by one. Rely on your emotional support systems during this time so that you don't feel your world is crumbling down both around you and within you.
4. Assess the Damage--When the storm passes--and it will--take the time to exhale; celebrate your "coming through"; and makes notes for what you could have done better. Then start at number 1 again and create a bigger, better plan. Unfortunately, and contrary to the old adage, lightening can strike the same place twice. And the only thing worst than going through something once, is going through it again when you had the opportunity to be both wiser and better prepared.

Just like with nature's storms, there is nothing like seeing the sun peek through the clouds afterward and calmness return to your surroundings. It's God's reminder that "the storm does pass over (hallelujah)." However, it's important to remind yourself that riding out those storms can be a lot less frightening when you've done your work and made provisions for the unexpected. Don't let the storms of life catch you "uncovered." It's time to get prepared!


  1. Offense versus defense is the best way to cultivate consistency in being prepared in every area of our lives. It is better to maintain and upkeep versus finding ourselves having to repair something that was preventable. And, we must also properly assess what is before us so that our preparation is based on the facts. In this economy we cannot afford to be sick, broke, or without a fence.

  2. We should never be caught twice unprepared.