Hurricane Irma: What makes a decision good or bad?
Should I stay or should I go?
I am sure you have heard the song "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash. That was the question playing in the minds of so many Floridians this past week.
As Hurricane Irma edged closer, all of us here in Florida had a decision to make.
Would we evacuate or stay put and ride it out? If we evacuated, where would we go?
Now that Irma is gone we can rate everyone on whether their decision to stay or go was a good one, right? No, not really.
Nervous, Cool, and Crazy in Naples
Several of my family members live in Naples. Each group of family members handled Irma differently and each group experienced different results. This got me thinking about what makes a decision good or bad.
One group of family members left Naples and headed for Orlando early last week. When I spoke with them I thought they were overreacting. The storm wasn't projected to hit Miami for another five days and Miami is on the other side of Florida opposite Naples. I spoke with them just after I got home and people were already lining up at gas stations and driving erratically. Nervousness was in the air and I was a little irritated by the way people were behaving so many days out from the storm's arrival.
Another group of family members from Naples also decided to go to Orlando, but they did not depart until Friday which made more sense to me since the storm track had moved west and it looked like Naples would get hit. This group seemed to be cool and steady and I thought they had made a good decision based on the information available to them. Out of the three groups of family members, I could understand this group's decision best.
The third group of family members stayed put in Naples. I didn't say it to them, but I thought they were a little nuts for staying, especially since they have a four-month-old child, but they were prepared. They had plenty of supplies and installed their hurricane shutters. They just would rather stay put and ride it out at home than battle through traffic with a young child. They even went outside when the eye of the storm passed through and took videos of themselves dancing around, basically taunting Irma.
So who made the best decisions? I really don't know.
Nervous is still in Orlando. Their hotel has power and their home in Naples doesn't, so they are comfortably waiting in an air-conditioned suite until they can be sure that power is restored before they head home. It seems like they at least made a good decision about which hotel to book.
Cool is heading back to Naples today. Even though they rode out the storm in the same city as Nervous, their hotel lost power on Sunday and they decided if they were going to sweat, they might as well head home in an air-conditioned car and sweat later under their own roof.
Crazy is just well ... crazy. They had to drive three hours round trip for some gas and other supplies after the storm had passed, but they have a good attitude about the whole thing. They don't have power, but everyone in their group is safe and their house is still intact and dry. They have been reporting back to everyone else about the conditions in Naples since yesterday.
Maintain a positive attitude and have faith
It seems that we humans have a tendency to judge people's decisions by the outcomes of their situations, but I am not sure that is always reasonable.
There are a whole host of factors that we can never know about or control when we make many of our decisions. Sometimes stuff happens and there is nothing we can do to change it.
Plus, I have seen people make what appear to be really stupid decisions and turn out okay and very responsible people make what appear to be really good decisions and get hammered.
I think, regardless of our decisions and circumstances, it is important to maintain a positive attitude and to have faith. We should never tire ourselves out agonizing over our decisions nor should we allow others to sow doubts.
As for me? I live in the Fort Lauderdale area and evacuated with my family late Thursday. I didn't run out of gas on the road or get stuck in traffic for twelve hours like some people warned me could happen.
We did end up inadvertently moving ourselves closer to Irma's eye than had we ridden the storm out at home, but the storm was much weaker when it passed us.
My wife and I made decisions about what to do based on what we thought was best for our family.
In the end that is all you can do - make decisions that are good for you. Then stay positive and have faith.
I am sitting in front of a computer right now writing this in an air-conditioned home with plenty of food and water, thank God, while my home in South Florida remains without power, but I won't tell you that I am here because I made good decisions.
My thoughts and prayers are with all of the people of Florida and Texas who have suffered through these storms over the past two weeks and who will likely suffer more in the days to come.