Friday, September 9, 2011

A lesson learned from 9/11

I spent a lot of time this weekend reminiscing about the events of 9/11.  We lived in Arlington, VA at the time- just a few miles from the Pentagon.  In fact, when we tried to go home that day, police had barricaded the street that led to our apartment because we were within such close proximity.

Soon we were able to return home and huddle around the television wondering what would happen next. Would life ever be the same?

One year later, on the first anniversary of the events I took the day off of work.  I remember walking through the neighborhood with our dog- another crisp, cloudless day just as it had been a year earlier.  My mind was clear and yet my actions were anything but.  After some soul searching I decided on a bold move: I quit my job.  I'm not sure who it shocked more. My husband? My boss? Me?

It's very unlike me to make such a drastic change without a plan in place.  I had no idea what I was going to do- I just knew that where I was, and what I was doing was not right.  I needed to live.  I needed to wake up and want to go to work. I didn't just want to collect a paycheck, wait for my 401k to vest and bide time until the next round of bonuses.  I wanted to take control of my future in honor of all of those who were robbed of theirs.
Twin Towers under construction, John J. Harvey fireboat: Alban Schlesier, Chief Engineer

I am a big proponent for planning, but in this instance, impulse is what made the most sense for me. Years later I look back and realize my bold move was the best decision I could have made.  My career propelled to levels I never knew it could.

10 years post- 9/11, my thoughts are best summed up by this quote " are not the product of your circumstances.  You are a composite of all the things you believe, and all the places you believe you can go.  Your past does not define you.  You can step out of your history and create a new day for yourself.  Even if the entire culture is saying, "You can't."  Even if every single possible bad thing that can happen to you does.  You can keep going forward."

The John J. Harvey is a fireboat formerly of the New York City Fire Department in New York City, famed for returning to service following theSeptember 11, 2001 attacks.[1][2]

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