I talk a lot about living the simple life on this blog – paring down to essentials, and the like. I like to keep things simple, avoiding the hustle and bustle of modern life. But, it’s funny, you realize very quickly that you don’t know a thing about living the simple life when your electricity goes out for days. Suddenly, you’re facing the dark with candles and lanterns like those in the pioneer days. It’s times like these when you are forced to really slow down. You get a instantaneous lesson in how programmed you are to something you’ve come to depend on entirely too much.


If you haven’t heard, New Jersey (the Jersey Shore especially) was walloped by Hurricane Sandy this past Sunday and Monday. We were without power from 7 p.m. on Monday until just yesterday morning. Most of New Jersey still doesn’t have power and doesn’t expect to for another four or five days at the least. Unfortunately, loss of power is nothing compared to what some have faced. Houses have swept away, blocks destroyed by fires and the shore towns have just been devastated by flooding.

Instead of thinking abut what we didn’t have (hot water, a stove top or oven to cook, television, internet), we focused on what we did have. We were safe. We had a house over our heads and we didn’t have any damage. We took it as an opportunity to slow down, read stories by candle light, play games, and talk to each other (instead of letting the TV or radio do it for us). Once the storm was over, we took walks – the three of us, me, my son and my husband, hand in hand. We read long stories, all cuddled up together in a giant blanket. We gathered closely around a cluster of candles for dinner – revealing in the intimacy and the one-on-one time with each other.

We were lucky. We were also taught an important lesson in simplicity. For as much as I tout the simple life, I realized I don’t know as much about it as I thought I did. I learned to appreciate the time we had with each other. We learned to make the best of a situation. Instead of wallowing, we made good, lifelong memories, despite the chaos around us – hopefully some that my son will remember for a long time. We learned to embrace true simplicity at its core. We also learned that there are a lot of things we’re willing to go without in today’s world – i.e. the biggest house, the most expensive car, designer clothes, etc. – but electricity is not one of them.

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12 Responses to Learning to appreciate the simple life after a hurricane

  1. Wow. That picture says it all. So glad that you and your family are ok and are not worse off. We have friends in New York that have been told they’ll be without power until late next week at the earliest. That’s awesome you were able to use the time to make some memories that will last for years.

    • Rebecca says:

      Thanks! Yes, for some reason we have power, but most of my family and friends still don’t. November 7th seems to be the target date for restoring power in most places, but who knows. There are so many power lines down, it’s hard to tell.

  2. That picture does say it all. I grew up in South Jersey (now live in the midwest) and that picture makes me sad. I heard from my family back east that Atlantic City was destroyed and Ocean City (just south) was ok. Crazy how that happens.

    Reading your post reminded me that human nature is to never expect the worst and to forget to be thankful for the simple things in life. Great post… enjoyed reading it.

    • Rebecca says:

      Yes Atlantic City was hit pretty hard. Seaside Heights (north of AC) had really bad devastation as well. It is really sad. I’ve lived here all my life, and though we’ll rebuild and recover, it will never really be the same.

  3. [...] -Rebecca’s family was one of the many victims of Sandy. She shares what she has learned through it all and how she learned to appreciate the simpler things in life. [...]

  4. Pauline says:

    Very humbling story, good thing that you are safe. I have been without electricity for the past week too (no hurricane, just moved to Guatemala), and I like the slower pace of life, and the mindfulness of things we just take for granted.

  5. [...] at Doggone Thrifty reminds us to Appreciate the Simple Life when she gives a quick update on their Hurricane Sandy experience and how you can talk the [...]

  6. I’m so glad that you are okay!!! I cannot believe the pictures of devastation that I have seen.

  7. [...] affected by the hurricane Sandy, and had no electricity for a while. Rebecca at Doggone Thrifty shares a nice article about how it made her appreciate the simple things in life. I hope everyone is safe and fine now, [...]

  8. [...] Doggone Thrifty – Learning to appreciate the simple life [...]

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