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The Beating Heart of The Jersey Shore

(The Verge) – I’m not afraid to admit that I’m an over sensitive guy when it comes to being involved with women. I’ve had my heart ripped out by too many girls to count of all different sizes, shapes and personalities. However, the worst heartache I’ve ever felt was on October 29, 2012 by a woman named Sandy. Not only did she rip the heart out of my chest but she ripped out the heart of the entire Jersey Shore. But just like when any other woman has ‘done me wrong’ in the past, I resort to my friends and a positive mental attitude to help me get back on my feet when I’m most vulnerable.
Six months ago, Hurricane Sandy paved a path of destruction throughout the east coast that saw many lives lost, homes destroyed and towns virtually wiped clear. It was something that states like New Jersey have never seen before. In total, the storm caused over 7.5 million to be without power for over a week, over $62 billion in damages and 125 deaths. According to
Scientific American, Sandy was the most damaging storm in history.
As a lifelong resident of the Jersey Shore, I saw this damage first hand. The boardwalks I would go to in the summer to win stuffed animals from a crane machine: Gone. The town of Sea Bright that I called home in my childhood: Gone. Most importantly the house I currently lived in, along with countless family possessions: Gone.
Living a block away from a river and being on the top of a hill, my family was never told to evacuate our home. But as time passed by, I slowly realized something awful was about to happen. Around 7pm, the storm surge hit my town of Rumson causing the river water to rapidly creep up to our door step. We thought we had enough time to elevate our stuff before the water got inside , but as we were doing so, the water started to come up through the floorboards. Just minutes later, the water was up to my knees and it became clear that we needed to get out. We called the police station, which we live right behind and they proceeded to hang up on us…I then saw a car at the end of my block and waved them down with a flashlight. The car ended up being just a father and a daughter checking out the storm damage, but without them, things would have been far worse than they were for my family.

The damage from Sandy has been unprecedented, but slowly, families can recover with a proper mindset. Image taken from: inapcache.boston.com

Walking through the streets, holding my cat over my head with that dirty water up to my chest is something that I can never forget. The biggest crush on my spirits was being at my friend Ray’s house with the rest of my family a mere hours later. We didn’t know what would happen to our house, everything that we owned and what we would do as a family next. That feeling of uncertainty, is something that I never want to feel again!
The next day, after the storm had cleared up, we learned that the water reached about three feet in my house. Destroying about half of my family’s belongings, including many one of a kind tangible objects. Our landlord informed us that we would be out of the home for two months at the very least, forcing my family to split up and causing me to be in my current living situation of staying at a different friend’s house on a nightly basis. But throughout this personal and national tragedy, I learned a very valuable lesson: Possessions come and go, with most being able to be re-bought; but friends and family are irreplaceable. I’m getting through this tough situation through the love of my friends, family and a positive mental attitude, something I see very little from today’s society.
This hurricane really opened my eyes about how much our society dwells on the little things in life, when there are much bigger problems out there. I’ve noticed during the days after the storm on various social networking sites that the thing people complained the most about was the electricity being out for a week. Admittedly, that would be something that would slowly drive me crazy as well, but once you lose your house, you find the little things that bothered you in life to be just that; little. These people that complain about the smallest aspect of the storm are usually the most stressed out.
The first week I was dealing with a mountain of stress which included me having trouble breathing and a lack of sleep but once I removed myself mentally from the negatives and focused on the positives, my health slowly improved and so did my mental alertness. When people suffer through tragedy they need to learn to get back to your normal routine, otherwise you’ll be doomed to dwell on the incident and that’s doing nothing but harm for your mental and physical state. In today’s world of prescription pills to make people happy, being naturally positive is something that’s harder and harder to find.
Having amazing friends in my life certainly played a large factor in my positive mental attitude theory. From day one of the storm I had friends helping me clean up my house, letting me stay at their places and had my back for whatever I needed. When some are down on their luck, people tend to isolate themselves from others which let them dwell in the past problems, which as mentioned before creates nothing but harm. By surrounding yourself with positive influences, you’re helping yourself get back into a sense of normalcy.
Hurricane Sandy caused a lot of problems for a lot of people. Many things that we once held near to our heart are now gone forever and there’s nothing that we can do about that except start fresh. As a society need to stop dwelling on all of the negatives of this situation and we need to adjust our focus to retaining a positive mental attitude about life. We only have one to live and if we let the loss of goods, mementos and even our homes define us, then I don’t want it to define us not as pity story. Rather, it should define us as just another chapter in the long book of personal journey. Just because Sandy ripped out our hearts last month, it doesn’t mean that the heart has stopped beating.
A saddened homeowner shovels the feet of sand from his storm-ravaged home. Image taken from: assets.nydailynews.com