All day yesterday I was trying to put into words what I was feeling. It was the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing on that tragic day, as most Americans do.
We were living in upstate New York at the time and just the day before I had turned in my resignation so we could return to Virginia. I had been "suffering" under dictatorial dangler management for a while, and when you add that to 16-18 hour days, it was having a profound effect on my quality of life. I was allowing one person to really play havoc with my work life and it was spilling over into my personal life. So, once the opportunity arose where we could get back to our home state, we jumped at it and I resigned. I was expecting it to be an emotional day, but of course I had no idea just how emotional it would be. I got to work that day at 9:02a.m. and as was standard operating procedure the first thing I did was turn on the desktop TV I had in my office...as Director of Communications, it was my job to monitor industry news and ensure advertising components aired as scheduled, so it was not uncommon for the TV to be on all day. But, I immediately knew something was wrong as I noticed that Good Morning America was still on...and within seconds two of my staff members were in my office, visibly stunned and upset. From that point on we watched the coverage, not being able to look away...others came to my office to watch with us, or to just sit with each other. And, as the morning progressed and the events unfolded, it was clear that the change I thought was going to be difficult, turned out to be such a trivial thing, it had no bearing on how I was feeling about the change our country and the world was experiencing. The sadness I had been feeling about leaving a job I enjoyed because of a tyrant who even created a dress code barring capri pants from the office, was nothing compared to the overwhelming sadness our country was subjected to that day and every day afterwards for weeks, months, and years to follow.
Now, here we are 10 years later...so much has happened to our country, in our country, to our families, and friends, and yet we all are marching on. We stumbled, but did not fall. We cried, but did not quit. We lost, but did not forget. We were tired, but found our strength. We prevailed. We are proud. We are Americans. So, as I watched the coverage again today, I remembered how I felt ten years ago. The sorrow, the grief, the pride, the love, the confusion, and the anxiety. And, I remember telling myself that no matter what, I would never, ever let a day go by where I would let the issues of others make a negative impact on my life. Life was too short, and could be taken from you at any moment. I swore I was going to do my best to remain positive and hold a reality perspective based on my own beliefs, opinions and experiences, as well as surrounding myself and my family with real people. People that were kind, loving, compassionate, trustworthy, honest, loyal, respectful, sincere, and direct. I promised myself that I would work harder to be a good mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend and co-worker. If being a good human being is how I could honor those that lost their lives that day, and honor those that I have a relationship with, work with, socialize with or otherwise come in contact with, then that was my task. With this too, I thought that I could influence others by being an example. But, it has been difficult. I have been challenged a great deal over the past ten years...challenged by unprofessionalism, theft, dishonesty, serious health issues, monetary stress, and blatant disrepect. I have fallen by the wayside as well...allowing others to make negative impacts on my life and behavior. But, challenges will always be in front of us...it's how we overcome them and move on that makes us stronger and determined to keep going. The challenges we have faced as a nation from 9/11 have been overwhelming, but I believe, it gave everyone an opportunity to learn, and grow no matter the depth of the impact from the events that day. And, it's ok if you trip along the way, it's whether you get up and keep going in the right direction that counts.
I will always remember the way I felt that day. And I will always try to remember the promise I made.
Never forget. Live to honor.
Thanks for reading.