An ounce of prevention…

Atlanta Traffic during Winter Storm Leo, Photo: BEN GRAY, AP

If you’ve watched any news lately, either on TV or online, you’re aware of the weather disaster known as Winter Storm Leon and its devastation of Atlanta roads and the ensuing traffic nightmare. I’m not here to point fingers or be negative in any way. Actually, I’d like to focus on the opposite, which is what can we learn from living through such a disaster to improve our lives. I was extremely fortunate to have gotten home by 1:00 pm so I didn’t suffer like thousands did on the road in cars running out of gas. I have, however, lived through a similar experience about 10 years ago where it took me 9 hours to drive from Washington, DC to Richmond. VA. But I digress….

I know it’s impossible to think that you can be prepared for every type of disaster but here are some things we can all do to make life a little easier. As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

      1. Stock your pantry and freezer. I don’t mean get all “doomsday prep-per” and build an underground shelter full of MREs but get & keep some staples on hand such as canned tomatoes, dried or canned beans, rice, pasta, frozen vegetables, ground beef/ chicken/ pork, and even frozen fruit. Just have a few things so that you can live out of your pantry or freezer for a day or so and don’t fight the lines at the grocery store. You can also freeze bread so that you’ve got a least 1 loaf on hand. Thankfully, we have having chili tonight because I had the essentials on hand and it’s perfect for this weather!
      2. Fill up your car with gas before you need it. I know I’ve certainly pushed it when the empty light has come on and I’ve never thought “that was a great feeling!” When you hit that ¼ tank it’s a good idea to start thinking about filling up.
      3. Keep a phone charger in your car. I probably don’t need to offer an explanation here but just do it. Also, those of you that travel, make sure you take one with you, even if it’s a one-day trip. Another experience I had was driving out of D.C. on 9/11, where I was supposed to be for a day trip, and that charger certainly came in handy.
      4. Wear a coat or at least take it with you in the car. I know I sound like a cranky old lady here but take your coat if it’s cold, just in case. Wear shoes, too. Is it really that hard? You just never know when your car is going to break down and there’s nothing worse than needing to walk to a gas station with no shoes or jacket.
      5. Just do it. Whatever errand you need to do that you don’t feel like doing, just do it. Waiting until it’s too late and the roads are covered in ice makes it that much harder and the task more Herculean. Procrastination is a vicious killer of productivity and I truly hate that feeling of “oh, I should have done that yesterday/ last week/ a month ago when I had more time.” My butt is sore from all of the times I’ve kicked myself so now I make lists and try to manage my time better.
      6. Go ahead and work out. You may be surrounded by an inch of ice tomorrow and not be able to leave home. This goes with #6 but just go ahead and do it. You’ll be glad you did.

Maybe I was a boy scout in another life but I love the idea of being prepared, as much as I can without becoming obsessed or fearful. Like I said before, there is no way you can be prepared for every possible event in life and if you were there would be no growth, creativity, or innovation. We can all try to learn from these experiences and do what we can to improve ourselves. You can’t control everything in your life and that’s ok.

Just do your best; it’s all anyone can expect. And help your neighbor.

Happy organizing!

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