Today is a day of reflection. It has been 11 years since the tragedy on 9/11, but I can still remember it like it was yesterday. I remember walking into work and doing all of my normal routines. I remember that I was feeling very negative about being at work. The sun was shining through my window and I had this strong desire to be anywhere else, but at work. I brewed coffee in the office coffee-maker and sat down to listen to morning radio.
At the time, I was the office manager. I was early that day and the office was very quiet. There were two managers in the office, but their offices were in the far opposite corners and I only saw them if I walked to their offices. I sat sipping my coffee and listening to the radio when they began to talk about a plane flying into the World Trade Center. I remember that I was barely paying attention to it. I assumed it was a small plane that lost its way. As more news came in, I picked up on the voices of the announcers. I could tell that they were trying to hide their fear and contain their excitement.
The phone rang in the office. The receptionist hadn’t arrived so I picked up. I spent the next few minutes taking calls from people who worked in the office telling me that they weren’t coming in. We talked about what they were watching on television. I realized that I had to find a television. Fortunately, there was a television in our office. As I made my way to the television, I saw that one of the managers and several employees were already standing around it. Everyone looked horrified. As I walked up they were replaying the footage. We all watched as the plane hit building. In an instance, I felt like I was in a dream. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know where to go. No one seemed prepared. There were reports that a plane was headed to Philadelphia. Later, that plane crashed in Pennsylvania due to the bravery of the passengers.
I waited for my managers to direct me on what I should be doing, but no one seemed to know. We all moved about numbly. There was no one visiting the office. All appointments were cancelled and more than half of the staff called out. I sat at my desk listening and waiting for some reassurance, but no one could give me assurance. When the second plane hit the building, I called my family members to make sure that everyone was safe. I was lucky that no one in my family had a reason to be in New York, but my heart went out to anyone there.
I rushed back to the television and, again, everyone was standing around the television. We all seemed to drift back to it as we walked around like zombies. This time, we watched the buildings fall. People in the office were screaming, crying and stood in shock. None of us could believe what we were seeing. I knew that I couldn’t stay in the office anymore. I told both my managers that I was leaving. I had to go home. Everyone understood. I raced home. The streets were eerily quiet and desolate. When I finally made it home, I cried. I turned on the news, climbed into the bed and I cried. I felt so much fear and sadness. My world changed. Before this, I lived with a sense of safety, but my safety was gone. The world now had a new potential that I never even thought was possible.
What I learned from that day is that you can’t take anything for granted. Anything is possible in this world. I also don’t punish myself for being late. I believe that you have to trust the Universe. I still feel sad for everyone that lost someone on that terrible day in our history. We have recovered, but there are some of us that will never forget what we experienced that day. I am one of them. I was forever changed. I can say that I grew up a lot that day. I was in my twenties and before that moment, I thought I was invincible. I thought I had huge problems. I was reminded that life is the most precious gift. If you have life, then everything else is not that serious.
“For me and my family personally, September 11 was a reminder that life is fleeting, impermanent, and uncertain. Therefore, we must make use of every moment and nurture it with affection, tenderness, beauty, creativity, and laughter.” -Deepak Chopra, M.D.