The New Normal: What Power Outages Taught This Patch Editor

The new normal is upon us after Hurricane Sandy, how has your life changed?

As an online journalist, living without power was frustrating.

On Sunday night, hours before the first of Hurricane Sandy hit, Old Bridge Township evacuated a portion of its residents. I fled to my parent's house in Westfield (as did the rest of my family).

I sat with my mother and grandmother during the storm, reporting as much as I could with limited cell service and flickering lights. We watched as larger-than-life tree limbs cracked and missed the house by inches, and listened as the wind gusts challenged our sanity.

Little did I know, that would only be the first test of my sanity.

One week went by, and your faithful Patch Editors worked tirelessly across the state. Some of us had been misplaced by power outages, some lost their homes. I watched news coverage all day, every day. I sat in shock as I saw so many of my own memories, and the memories of my fellow Jersey residents, float away.

The boardwalk in Point Pleasant I remember walking on as young as 3-years-old is destroyed, the home my friends and I rented during prom weekend in high school is gone, and the fate of the beaches we loved to dig our toes into is questionable.

And after one week, with all of the news coverage of all that was lost, we all started to go a little stir crazy. It was dark, it was cold, and New Jersey had simply had enough.

Learning to live without luxuries we are habitually accostumed to is not as easy as it sounds. Although I had the comfort of my family in Westfield, I missed my big comfy bed and my ugly couch and my small kitchen. I missed normalcy.

Today, Nov. 12, two weeks after Hurricane Sandy and less than one week from the punch in the gut from a nor'easter, many Monmouth County residents are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Now when you walk into the bathroom, you can flip the light switch. You can dry your hair, you can snuggle on the couch and watch TV.

As those of us fortunate enough to still have a couch to snuggle on settle in to the new normal, we must remember how lucky we are. We all learned to live without technological luxuries in the past 14 days, but so many are learning to live without being able to go home.

While power outages did change the quality of life longterm for some, especially those in Marlboro and Colts Neck with well-water and ruined septic systems, so many of us are lucky.

And although we would never again like to learn to live without heat, there are many things that were put into perspective after Hurricane Sandy.

Myself? I learned to live without a full tank of gas to get me simply anywhere I need to go, and the luxury of plugging in my Kindle tablet so I could finally finish the last in the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series. 

But most importantly, I have learned to live more than ever with compassion for others. I have learned to try to live without complaining, and with the spirit of altruism. I have learned, quite frankly, that it could have been worse.


Tell us: what did you learn to live without during the power outages? How has your life changed?

Lauren Kapp November 13, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Couldn't have said it better myself Kaitlyn!! You expressed everything I have been feeling for the past 2 weeks!! Thank you and couldn't agree more!
Robert November 22, 2012 at 06:51 PM
I have learned that we all need to respect Mother Nature more than ever. I have also learned that we need to become more familiar with our neighbors and come together as a family when disaster strikes. I have also a new found respect for so called Preppers. Always ready for disasters.


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