My sister is wrapped in her warmest blanket, dressed in more layers than usual, and curled up with our cat, sitting on the kitchen floor using the landline to talk to me. It is around 35 degrees Fahrenheit at home, and she and my mom have gone 4 days without power due to the heavy snowstorms that hit the East Coast. (They ended up getting electricity back the next day. Also, she wasn’t able to use her cell phone to talk to me because she needed to save the battery in case of an emergency.)
Two weeks ago wasn’t the first time my house had lost power for a “long” period of time. In 2012, my house was affected by Hurricane Sandy and didn’t have power for 11 days. And we were some of the lucky ones. Other people I knew in surrounding communities didn’t have electricity for 2 weeks, and there were others who went even longer off the grid.
So in comparison to Hurricane Sandy, this power outage was not as intense. Nonetheless, it still had major effects on my family's life back home and their communities. As I sat in my dorm room, 2,921 miles away from the snowstorm talking to my sister, I was overcome with this immense feeling of gratitude for the simple things that electricity does for us.
Every day, we get so caught up in the busyness of our lives that we forget to think about just how valuable electricity is. But without electricity…
1. You can’t charge your phone, computer, electric toothbrush, wireless headphones, or anything electronic.
2. You can’t watch Netflix.
3. You can’t do any homework on the computer. Or pull an all-nighter to cram for that exam or write that paper.
Though maybe it's for the best...
4. You can’t read a book whenever you want.
5. You can’t do laundry.
6. You can’t stay warm by blasting the heat.
That’s where blankets and lots of layers come in.
7. You can’t see what your friends are up to 24/7.
How are you going to survive without Snapchat?!
8. You can’t eat ice cream whenever just because.
But you can eat all the ice cream before it melts in the freezer.
9. You can’t go to the kitchen when you’re hungry and take out food from the fridge.
Because it got spoiled.
10. You can’t vacuum the house.
11. You can’t use your Keurig machine.
12. You can’t make waffles with your waffle maker.
Gonna miss out on a lot of delicious breakfast foods.
13. Or smoothies with the blender.
14. Or toast!
You’ll have to really be creative with your breakfast foods in the morning. Maybe cereal with no milk?
15. You can’t turn on the light to verify if there’s a spider in the room at night.
16. You can’t watch YouTube videos till 3 am because you got carried away.
17. You can't straighten or blow-dry your hair.
You look better au natural anyway.
18. You can’t listen to Spotify over the speaker in your house.
19. You can’t check the microwave or your alarm clock to see what time it is. (Or even your phone!)
That’s where watches come in handy.
20. You can’t open your garage door.
Unless you do it manually.
21. You can’t walk down the hallway without fear of crashing into something.
On the more positive side, here are all the things you CAN do without electricity:
22. You can spend more time with your pets.
23. And your family and friends.
Here’s to staying up till 3 am because you got carried away with human interaction and conversations instead of YouTube and Netflix.
24. You can go to bed earlier.
No distractions with technology or excuses for staying up late.
25. You can play more board games.
26. Or puzzles, if that’s more your thing.
27. You can sing.
A capella, of course.
28. You can play your guitar that's been picking up dust in the corner.
29. You can go outside and play in the snow.
30. You can spend time doing what you loved as a kid.
Maybe you outgrew LEGOs and dolls, but you can spend time drawing, painting, and journaling without the distraction of technology.
31. You can pretend you’re camping.
With cold temperatures and lots of layers, it's the perfect simulation.
32. You can have an excuse to light those candles your family keeps in storage.
Without electricity, our lives slow down, perhaps for the better, and I hope people realize what’s really important in our lives and think about how our basic needs are being met each and every day. When we live our lives with gratitude, we are more fulfilled, and sometimes it takes losing power to be reminded of how lucky we are to have electricity 100% of the time. Let’s not forget that.