Most of the people I know are either talking about Beyoncé being pregnant or Hurricane Irene. My inner circle and I are talking about the latter diva: Hurricane Irene. As a businesswoman who helps people connect and reconnect through games and activities I was surprised that this storm taught me to appreciate my work much more. For that reason, I want to share the 3 things Hurricane Irene taught me about appreciating reunions.
During the weekend the news (television, print, internet and radio) and social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) gave their projections of what this category 3 storm would leave behind. We all paid close attention to these updates so we would know what to expect and how the people we cared about would fare. As an adoptive Eastern North Carolinian from Bronx, NY, many of my family and friends still live in New York City-another region that was affected by the hurricane-so, naturally I was concerned.
My phone was full of activity. There were various text messages, Facebook messages, and phone calls. I was worried about my family, both those in the North and the South, and they were worried about me. We were lucky--we lost power for less than 6 hours, no one was hurt and we only had a small leak in the ceiling. However, some weren't so lucky. I saw pictures of fallen trees in the middle of person's living room, a flooded mall parking lot and heard about a few deaths related to hurricane Irene.
How many of you were thinking "Wow when was the last time I saw (fill in the blank)?" Society as a whole takes living for granted. We tend to assume that we will be afforded time to do things at a later date. Unfortunately, this passing Hurricane teaches us that this is untrue. No excuses about being too far, too busy, or too tired because none of those excuses mattered during the hurricane...did they?
Listed are 3 things we should all learn from Hurricane Irene.
1. Be Proactive-Not Reactive: Why wait for them to make the first move? Reconnect and restore relationships that you have been putting off, NOW. Appreciate, love and play with those most important to you. Make plans to see each other. It's never too early to plan your next get together. Planning in advance lets everyone involved know when your next reunion or event will take place and gives THEM time to plan and gather their resources to attend.
2. Don't wait for a Tragedy: A reunion (family, class, or military) is a great way to enjoy one another. Many times we don't realize, or appreciate the family and friends we have until something bad happens. Sadly, too many people reconnect at funerals. It is then that we meet extended family members that we do not know. Let's decide, today, to see the ones we care about on better circumstances!
3. Make Time: Make visiting with family a priority. Coincidentally enough, my Aunt Hazel, who I hadn't seen since 2008 was visiting us in North Carolina the week before Irene hit. I was so happy to reconnect with her again, but realized that we went too long to without seeing her. She had been waiting for us to visit but we had not had the time. Decide that spending time with your family and friends is just as important as your child's sporting event, an intimate relationship, school or promotion.
We all could take a lesson from my aunt. She knew and followed all three of the lessons mentioned above. #1: She was proactive, she came to us. She decided not to wait until we had the time to get to her. #2: She didn't wait for a tragedy to occur and #3 she decided that seeing her family was important to her.
While hurricane Irene was a tremendous storm that bought fear into our hearts, ruins to some of our homes and ripped us down to our bear minimum, Irene taught us that life is precious. She made us take stock in our family, to spend time with those we see every day, but without the power to use the television as a distraction. Irene made us reach out to those we have not seen or spoken to in years. So while Irene was a tragedy for some, let's also recognize the lessons she taught about the value of THEM.