It's 9/11 again. And for the last seven years, I've written on this day about how I have grown since the World Trade Center. I was standing next to the first tower when it fell.
Mostly, I don't think about 9/11 anymore. Well, not on a daily basis at least. But, for example, I so seldom hear a plane flying over my town—Middleton, WI—that when I do, I have flashbacks to hearing the second plane fly right over me and into the building.
I also have flashbacks when I go running with the farmer on his dirt road. On a dry day the dust gets in my mouth and it feels like the moments leading up to when the air was so thick with debris from the fallen building that I couldn't breath. We stopped running on the dirt for the summer.
In an odd way, though, 9/11 has helped me. It helped me focus my career, and understand my personal history, and it helped me have compassion for my husband when our marriage was ending.
Over the years, what that upsets me the most about 9/11 has changed. In the beginning, I was most upset about how when I saw danger, I walked toward the building, to see what was happening, rather than getting back on the train and going home. Later I learned that most of Wall St. responded the same way, so I was beating myself up for what was simple human nature. Read more