The Empire State
Though I no longer live there, part of me will always remain a New Yorker. I will continue to talk too fast, gesture with my hands to accent my point, and walk quickly. I will never accept deep dish pizza, (EVER!) and I will not enjoy a bagel made north of Westchester. I was born and raised in Great Neck (the North Shore of Long Island or for you Great Gatsby fans, West Egg) and upon my graduation from an east coast college spent 10 years living in Manhattan. I love New York. I love the energy, the people, the culture, the food. What I didn’t love was the weather which is why I chose to leave.
It is the weather that has prompted this post today. Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you have undoubtedly heard about Hurricane Sandy and the devastation it has caused along the East coast. Although on the same chunk of land, the distance from California to New York sometimes makes me feel like I’m living in a foreign country. While people have been talking about what happened, I don’t perceive the same type of anguish and despair that my East coast friends are relating. Personally, I feel extremely helpless and frustrated at being so far away and unable to do more then donate money. It reminds me that no matter how far away I move, a part of me will always remain a New Yorker.
My heart aches for my friends and family back home. My college roommate in Merrick who is almost two weeks without power. She has two young children and no heat. Another friend who is recovering from surgery but still continues to drive out to the Rockaways in Queens to distribute food, water and clothing. He used up a tank of gas in a day and then had to wait on massive lines for more gas. Another friend’s father lived in Long Beach, he refused to evacuate because he didn’t know what would happen to his dogs and wouldn’t leave them. My cousins in Woodmere who we didn’t hear from for days only to find out they were safe but their neighbors who had parked on the street now were without a car because it has floated away in the rising water. My stepmother, displaced from her home in Jersey along with my nephew finally got to come back, 10 days after the storm with no way of knowing of what awaited them.
I lived through 9/11 and the blackout of 2002. I know how strong and resilient New Yorkers are. But this storm and its resulting aftermath of fear, anger, frustration, and hope speak very strongly to me. None of us knows what tomorrow will bring. In California, it can be a giant earthquake, in Oklahoma a tornado In New Orleans, the levies can break. In your backyard, a job loss, down the street a family member diagnosed with cancer. In the middle of the country, a car accident wipes out half a family.
Because I can’t control the future, or the weather, I will instead seek to live a life of gratitude. I am grateful that my friends and family on both coasts are safe. I am grateful that I can hug and kiss my children and pet my dogs who lay at my feet. I am grateful that whilst I am not there, I can donate money to disaster funds. I am grateful for the stories of my friends who instead of running a marathon, helped clean up part of Staten Island. I am grateful that I live in a land of perpetual sunshine. I don’t wish to become cynical, or bitter as a result of this. I want to be so filled with gratitude for the wonderful things I do have that when or if a disaster strikes, I can face it, strong and proud, much like those on east coast, or New Orleans, or anywhere that people gather together in the face of adversity to rebuild, renew and reinvigorate themselves.
If you’d like to continue the conversation, I offer a free health consultation. You can learn more about me at www.roslynwellness.com; email me firstname.lastname@example.org; find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/roslynwellness and on Twitter @courtneyabrams
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About the Author: Courtney Abrams is a Health Coach and Founder of Roslyn Wellness. Trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, she helps clients work within the realities of their day to day lives to find ways to make small and manageable changes to their health that can maintained over time. Her clients include people trying to lose weight, beat sugar, increase their energy, cook simple healthful food and reduce stress to name a few. She also shares a passion for food policy and educating people about the foods they are eating and the governmental role behind much of it. You can learn more about Courtney and Roslyn Wellness at http://RoslynWellness.com.