Part 20: Unexpected Events Lead to CAT

Santa Monica, CA rocks. Santa Monica senior living rocks and rolls. And I mean literally — my chair, bed, and car, with me in them, have rocked and rolled with earthquakes.

Welcome Joan’s Journeyers. Geriatric experts talk about adjustments to senior living. I suggest “Climate Change” be added to the list. On the calm, clear night of March 17, 2014, at 6:25 am, I was asleep in my bed at Holiday Villa East (HVE) in Santa Monica. Joan's Journey and her CAT realization

Quite suddenly, I awoke as my body lifted from the mattress into the air. In a very few seconds, my body fell back onto the mattress. The bouncing movement of the building and its contents, like the ceiling fan, stopped swaying. The thundering noise ceased. I was surrounded in dark stillness. Not a sound was heard in the hallway outside my room or from the street.

“Did I have a nightmare,” I wondered?

Nothing more happened that I noticed, and soon I fell back to sleep. Although I didn’t feel them, according to the US Geological Survey, more than 100 small earthquakes, not aftershocks, occurred in the four hours following that 4.9 quake, including a 4.2 quake. Since Jan. 1, 2014, at least 500 quakes have been recorded in the City of Santa Monica.

The next morning HVE was abuzz with resident and staff chatter about the latest “significant” quake, which means 4.0 and greater. The March 17 quake was felt by most LA County folks, but fortunately caused little damage.

I  called my son Mark, who lives across the Hollywood Hills in LA County. “Why didn’t you call me after the quake?” I said. “I was scared.”

Mark’s cheerfully answered, “Quakes in LA are like noisy garbage trucks going by. They happen!”

CAT stands for “Change,” “Accept,” and “Time.”

Prior to the March 17 quake, long-time residents of Southern California assured me that in my lifetime, I would probably not experience an earthquake of more than 4.0. However, since the 4.9 quake, many disaster-preparedness ‘non-believers’ have changed their opinions and are now prepared.

Every person and family has individual requirements, for example, whether or not one has pets. For me, living in senior housing, earthquake preparations include:

* Two identical earthquake kits — one for the car trunk and one for easy access under my bed;
* Flashlights, bottled water, long-lasting food, medicines, and first aid items;
* Copies of important papers and emergency cash;
* Durable, close-toe shoes under the bed and in the car trunk;
* Knowledge of key personnel and exit routes in building;
* Living quarter’s furniture, electronics, and breakable items secured with earthquake safety belts or straps;
* A full gas tank;
* A jacket and blanket in the car trunk;
* A charged cell phone and charger, and
* A handy organized telephone contact list shared with out-of-state family or friends.

Joan’s Journeyer’s, why am I sharing these elaborate and potentially upsetting details?

The reason is that I have a choice. I can live in fear that “the big one,” along with a tsunami, may happen. Or I can follow the lead of my son Mark and accept that earthquakes are part of the package of living in beautiful Southern California. My choice is to accept that earthquake preparations is part of the reality of my journey across the United States to spend my senior years close to my children and grandchildren. My choice is to be prepared and embrace all that senior living has to offer.

Three key words that spell “CAT” describe my adjustment. “C” for the ever-so-many changes occurring in my life; “A” for the necessary acceptance of potentially negative situations that MAY occur; and “T” for the permission of time I’ve given myself to become comfortable with the changes.

Ironically, as I write this blog, Hurricane Arthur is pounding wind, rain, and havoc, on the US Middle East Coast. My conclusion, no place is perfect. Bloggers, what life changes, positive or negative, have you experienced? Please share with SeniorHomes.com and me in the Comment Box below. Until the next post, enjoy your journey, day-by-day.

Joan London, a former Houston Chronicle correspondent and noted magazine writer/editor, now specializes in freelance writing/editing of issues relating to seniors. London moved to a senior community in Southern California, where she has enhanced her quality of life and is closer to her children and grandchildren. Follow her series, Joan’s Journey, on SeniorHomes.com.