The slowest moment in my whole life was the time between when the World Trade Center fell next to me, and when someone broke a window and I climbed in to get air. In my memory this time span is about fifteen minutes. But from the historical record, I know it was about one minute.

I have been writing for seven years about how the World Trade Center changed me.

And I have been writing, too, about how much I want to change. Sometimes it’s about productivity, sometimes it’s about compassion, sometimes it’s managing my own money. I always want to change something.

I always thought that my success is due to my fast pace. My quick thinking, quick delivery, quick judgment, quick shift. I tell myself that I can get what I want if I try hard enough. And then I translate that to a faster pace.

Don’t tell me about meditation, and yoga, and being present. I’ve done all that. The problem is that a fast-paced overachiever can undermine even those being-present techniques. For example, I am sure that I’m better at Ashtanga yoga than you are: See. That’s how the mind of the fast-paced works.

There is the step you take where you change what your body is doing, and then there is the second step, where you change what you believe. So I have had a hard time believing that I’d be okay with a slower pace.

But this year, I tried going slower. I tried to trust that I’d change the most by changing my pace.

Changing my pace has been about trusting that good things will come from being slow, just as they do from being fast. It’s hard to trust in that, because if you’ve been fast your whole life, you don’t know what you’ll get from slow. Instead, you only see what you cut out of the fast life to make room for the slow life. You know what you lose but not what you’ll gain.

Some of you know what I mean. Others of you are sitting in your chair, smugly thinking that you are great at slow. But those of you who hate a fast pace, you still have a pace problem, it’s just the opposite: Speed makes you anxious. You might miss something. You might do something wrong. You might get lost. These are the worries of slow people that are foreign to the fast.

Pace matters. It opens doors if you use it well. I am not sure if I would be able to change my pace if I had not had an inescapable, defining moment that forced me to try slow. So today I am taking a moment to have gratitude to all the lessons I learned, during my slowest moment..

First-hand Account of 9/11

Two Months After 9/11: Trying to Make Work Normal Again

Wall Street After 9/11: The Support Group Starts at 5pm Sharp

9/11: Two Years Later

Lessons Learned from New Orleans

Digging Myself out of the Debris

My 9/11 Day, My Husband, and the Meaning of My To Do List

I was standing at the bottom of the Word Trade Center when it fell. I was standing so close that I didn’t know it fell. I thought earthquake, until I couldn’t breathe. Then I thought nuclear bomb.

Now, when I let my head go back to that day, there are two moments I most easily go back to:

Moment 1: At one point I was with five men in dress shirts and ties totally covered with debris. We had each climbed into a bank next to the World Trade Center site. Debris coated our throats and we had all just fought over who got to drink water out of the toilet. When it turned out there was enough water, we went together to a hallway and sat on the floor. I started crying. The guys looked at me like I was going to be trouble and moved away. But one guy put his arm around me.

Moment 2: Minutes later. The men and I split up outside and lost each other quickly. None of us had any idea where we were. There was no one walking. I was all alone. I was still so disoriented that I didn’t know the building fell, even though I was walking at the site. Then some woman, wearing completely clean clothing, took my hand and told me to walk with her. She shepherded me nearly ten miles on foot, patiently waiting through my many screaming panic attacks, to her apartment on the Upper West Side.

Those are the two scenes I usually think about when I think about 9/11. But sometimes, if I am feeling like it might be an okay time to cry, I’ll let myself go to other stuff. Like, the part right before I heard someone break a window in that bank. The part when I thought I would die. I remember realizing my mouth was open but I was not taking in air. So I shut my mouth. I remember thinking I wish I had shut my mouth sooner so maybe I could have held air in my body a few seconds longer.

Then I accepted death. That does really happen. You quickly run through everything that matters. It is so fast how you do that. Because I know you know this: Not much matters. I had no kids. I thought of my brothers and my husband. I felt sad. Then I felt fine. And I waited to die. I could not find anything else to do. I could not see or breathe.

Then I did not die. Then I climbed in that bank window.

People wonder what the hell I’m still doing with my husband when things are so bad between us right now. But I have been one minute from death, and all I wanted in that moment was to see what life would be like with him. That’s what I wanted. I felt enormous disappointment that I would never know.

I just wanted to see things with us unfold. So I’m not giving that up. Not now.

And here’s what happened when I got to that Upper West Side apartment. My husband walked ten miles to pick me up. I told him I was fine and he took me straight to the hospital. He told me, later, that even though the woman put me in the shower, even though I did not say what happened, he could still see debris stuck deep in my ear and he knew that things had been bad.

Doctors bandaged my eyes shut. My husband held my arm for three days, showing me where to go. For a week, he stayed by my side every moment. I didn’t shower. I barely slept. My ability to stay in reality was limited. And he was there the whole time.

And then, months later, I went to trauma recovery group. A lot. And then I started reframing the story. I stopped blaming myself for walking toward the World Trade Center when I heard there was danger. I stopped thinking of the trauma as derailing my life and started thinking of it as a new path. And then, I started working. A little at first. But soon, at full-throttle.

So, look, it’s true that I know what it’s like to be on one’s death bed. That saying that you never say, “I wish I worked harder.” It’s absurd. You don’t have any thoughts like that at all. You just have your family in your heart. You see there is not a lot of room for stuff there. Your family takes up everything in those last seconds.

And then, you go back to work and it’s totally stupid. Right? What is more important than being with your family? That’s what you say to yourself.

But here’s what I am giving up. The idea that every second could be my last second. Because then you are not living life. Yes, it’s true, work is not as meaningful as family. And yes, it’s true, I did not think about my to-do list when I faced death. But if you’re not dead, your to-do list matters. Because that’s what life is. Life is getting up and going to work on things that are high on your list. Work in your pajamas, maybe, or in a corn field, or in the car to drive the kids to school. It’s all work. It’s what we’re doing here. And it’s a treat.

So what has changed? I appreciate kindness more. The kindness of an arm around my shoulder, the kindness of a warm shower from a stranger. The kindness of my husband. And I appreciate the daily routine of life. Waking up. Tending the to-do list. And not treating every moment like it’s my last. Because it’s not. This is my life, unfolding. It’s my dream come true. It’s not unfolding like I thought it would, but I’m getting to watch it. Thank god.

I was at the World Trade Center when it fell. At each anniversary that passes I write my story, and each year it changes a little. This year, I have been thinking about that moment when I accepted death.

I was at the corner of Liberty and Broadway when the first tower fell. I was too close to the building to be able to see what was happening. It sounded like a huge bomb, and it felt like a snowstorm of dirt. Everyone ran. But in just a few seconds, the world became dead silent and no one could see. I crawled over piles of people. My mouth was full of dust and I could barely breathe. I had no idea where I was or how to preserve myself. I thought I might be the only person alive. As breathing got more difficult, I settled into the idea of dying.

Time got very slow and I seem to have had an hour’s worth of thoughts in seconds. At first I worried that my family would be sad. But then I was disappointed. I would not see my brothers as adults. Would not know what I was like as a mom, or what it was like to grow old with my husband. My to-do list was overflowing with things I wanted to achieve, things I had been looking forward to. But the minute I thought I was going to die, that list didn’t matter. I was sad that I would not get to hang out and watch family life unfold.

It’s surprising because like almost all New Yorkers, I was not the hang out type. And in case it’s not clear from the obituaries and essays that have come from 9/11, the World Trade Center did not attract the slow-lane types.

Like many New Yorkers, I went to a World Trade Center recovery group. The groups were divided into the kind of trauma you experienced. People who watched the scene on TV were not in the same group as people whose spouse died. I was in a group with people who were there the ten minutes or so before the Tower fell. Some of the people in my group felt the impact of the plane while sitting at their desk. Some of the people ran from their building and were splattered by body parts from jumpers. All of us felt lucky to be alive.

All of us vowed to make life more meaningful after 9/11. Almost all of us changed jobs to do something that gave us more personal time. The few of us who could, had a baby.

Now I know that if I die tomorrow, what I’ll regret is not getting to watch my life unfold. So I have been changing my life, a little at a time, to give myself more time to watch life go by. I made a career change from Wall St.-based business development to home-based writer, I had two kids, and I encouraged my husband to reject jobs with long hours. We vowed to cut back our spending 70% to create a more simple life.

But cutting spending is not so easy, especially in New York City. It required making a lot of difficult choices. Finally we decided we could not reach our goals without moving. So this year, on the fifth anniversary of 9/11, I am making a new home in Madison.

Sure, I’m still competitive and ambitious when it comes to my career, but what 9/11 gave me the strength to make the scary decision to slow things down. Slowing down means missing opportunities, missing a chance to shine or a serendipitous meeting. It’s hard to simplify life because a complicated life is so stimulating. But nearly suffocating in the rubble showed me that what I want most is to be present: Consciously watching while my life unfolds.

The most conflicted memorial just got more conflicted. The New York Times reports that the relatives of those killed on 9/11 will not endorse the World Trade Center memorial plan unless the names of the dead are categorized by where they were working. Relatives don’t just want the company name, though. They want the tower and the floor as well.

Many people will ask, Why? In a time when defining yourself by your work is so unfashionable, why do people want to remember loved ones by where they were working?

As someone who was at the World Trade Center when the towers fell, I can tell you that the way people recover from a trauma like this is we retell the story over and over again. I have never heard someone tell a story about being there and not say where they were working.

For one thing, it tells where you started, which is the biggest factor in determining if you lived. For another thing, those of us who were there that day reassessed our lives, and for many, the idea of work changed. If someone almost dies at work, work needs to have a lot of meaning if you’re going to go back.

I cannot speak for the families who had someone die that day. But if the people who lived are obsessed with where they were working, then it seems reasonable that families of those who died would be obsessed too.

The memorial will probably end up listing the names exactly how the families want. And the memorial will be a reminder to everyone that most of us spend most of our time working. Trauma victims are not the only people who tell stories. Everyone does. So make your time at work matter because it will always be part of your story.

The footage from New Orleans reminds me of my own experience at the World Trade Center. The first couple of weeks after the hurricane are just the beginning. So much of the rest of the story is about asking for help, and it 's one of the hardest things in the world to do; at the office, at home, in the community. But the better someone is at asking for help, the less likely she is to need it.

From my own trauma I learned about two kinds of asking for help: the desperate way and the embarrassed way. The first kind is instinctual. People in the Superdome felt like they were in hell and accepted any help whatsoever to get out. I understood this feeling immediately.

I was at the World Trade Center when it fell. I could barely see, hear or breathe. Just before I thought I was taking my last breath, I saw dim light and I walked toward it. I pulled myself into a window of a building where there was air.

From that point, I was totally dazed and unable to take care of myself. I had been too close to the building to see that it was falling, and I thought a nuclear bomb might have hit me. After leaving the building, I walked around aimlessly until I found a person who was not covered in debris. Then I said, “Can I be with you? I don’t know where to go.”

She bought me shoes, because mine were gone, and she walked ten miles with me to her apartment, where she gave me clothes.

As soon as I was clean and my husband had found me, I thanked the woman and left; I felt embarrassed to have taken so much help from her. After all, I was a Wall St. executive.

That's when the second kind of asking for help starts. The kind that is very hard to ask for because we like to think of ourselves as self-reliant. But part of self-reliance is being comfortable asking for help.

The list of people who helped me after 9/11 is huge. The Red Cross provided trauma counseling and I sat in a roomful of executives who never dreamed they would be taking help from the Red Cross. A stewardess sat next to me when I had a panic attack on an airplane. My company laid off almost everyone with no notice and no severance, and FEMA made up the difference.

I remember thinking to myself that I couldn’t take a handout. But in the end, almost everyone I know who qualified, took the money. Money can’t solve post-traumatic stress, but it can give you financial breathing room so that you can focus on stopping the nightmares.

The nightmares last a long time. When you encounter colleagues or contacts suffering from an unexpected trauma, create a workplace– and a world — where asking for help is okay. There are more than a million people who cannot make it on their own for the next several months — either financially, emotionally or both. A nation that accepts a plea for help is a nation that encourages people to ask for help in a wide range of circumstances, not just dire.

For most people, September 11 has come and gone, but the anniversary will always be important to me because I was a block away when the first building fell. The people I have met who were at the World Trade Center that day never stopped associating the event with their work, and I am no exception.

That day, I stepped outside my office to take a look at the spectacle. Before I knew what happened, I was blinded by debris and buried under a pile of people. I pulled myself out of the pile, but I couldn't see, had no idea where I was, and I couldn't breathe. I worried about my family until the lack of air became painful. Then I focused all my hopes on not having an extremely painful death.

There was complete quiet. No one could talk because no one could breathe. Then I heard cracked glass. I moved toward the noise until I saw a glow coming from a broken window. Somehow, I lifted myself into a broken window that was above my shoulders. I found air. And then I thought only of water. I found my way to a bathroom in that building and inside there were debris-covered men in ties drinking out of a toilet. I drank, too.

Days later, I went back to my software marketing job at my Wall-St based company, and though no one was really doing any work, I somehow continued to write my weekly column, furtively, from my desk. Soon, though, the company laid off almost all the employees, including me. I spent October in a daze. I spent November and December attending a group for people with post-traumatic stress syndrome.

The way to deal with post-traumatic stress is to tell your story over and over again. The theory is that when you are in the moment of trauma, you have to turn off all your emotions to get yourself through it. After the fact, in order to stop having nightmares and panic attacks, you have to experience the emotions you missed.

So I told my story over and over again. And each time, the story was a little different. (I still tell the story, although to be honest, most people are sick of it. Even my brother said, “That just took 25 minutes. Maybe you need an abridged version.”)

When I began telling my story I saw myself as an imbecile — for staying at work after the first plane hit, for standing so close to the building, for not trying to help anyone but myself. Later, my story focused on how I was a lucky person to have come out alive. And I was a lucky person to have a moment where I thought I was going to die and saw exactly what I cared about in my life.

This is the process of reframing. How we frame our stories determines how we see ourselves. It's the glass half-empty/half-full thing: The trauma of 9/11 taught me to frame my life as half-full.

Today, when I tell my World Trade Center story, my focus is on career change. Today I am the woman who nearly died at the World Trade Center. I lost my job as a marketing executive. I faced an incredibly tough job hunt, which I wrote about in my column. In the process, I became a writer; turning in a column week after week made me realize that I was a writer who was calling herself an unemployed marketer.

I used to think career changes were planned and instigated and systematic. Now I know that some changes could never be planned, and some changes do not need instigating, they just need recognizing. Positive change comes to people who can frame their world in a positive light — even a world where everything is literally falling down.

There's nothing like forty bombs on a Middle-East metropolis to make you feel like your weekly widget report is meaningless. But we can't bring the economy to a screeching halt. If nothing else, we need to eat, we have to get paid. So we find ourselves making judgments each day about what is in poor taste and what reflects the needs of a workplace that must go on.

On September 11, I was working at a company located six blocks from the World Trade Center. I exited the subway right after the first plane hit. Took a look up at the burning building, and then walked to my office. That might sound strange, but I am one of thousands of people who did that, because office workers are accustomed to order, predictability and routine. Five days a week we exit the subway and walk to work. If you do something that often, you usually start to like it.

Even now, in the face of war, the predictability and stability of going to work every day provides a counterbalance to the unknown factors of battle. Some might say, “How can you sell widgets when people are dying in Baghdad?” But routine, really, is a way to cope. In the face of an unpredictable and violent world, the routine of the weekly widget report takes on near-spiritual meaning.

After the second plane hit the South Tower, there was a steady rain of papers out our office windows. There was a steady stream of employees saying, “Do we have a TV here? Do we have cable? Do you know what happened?” And there was my boss. He said, “Everyone should just go back to work. There's nothing we can do.” Even a half-hour after the second plane hit, my boss was in his office sending email to a department that ran around the office like over-excited school children at recess.

We will always remember my boss, locked up in his office, oblivious to doom. And this is the danger of our penchant for routine. It should be comforting but not a means of denial. When it was time for my boss to acknowledge that the day, in fact, would not be a workday, he could not make the shift in plans. Oh he shifted, but not until the office was engulfed in debris and the FBI had taken over the street in front of the building.

Working during wartime is a balance. We should appreciate the comfort of routine, but we should know when to make an adjustment.

Take a tip from advertisers, who know that airing commercials about familiar brands is comforting, but commercials rife with frat-house humor or on-sale-now jargon are a turn-off to a fragile population. McDonald’s, for example, will run branding commercials featuring children, and the company will save the hawking of value meal deals for a peace-time project.

McDonald's knows that people need comfort in consistency. These tactics may seem heartless, consumerist, or crass, but the reality is that we are all going to keep the economy going while the war rages. So when you show up to work, understand the value of consistency but know your limits. Know why you do what you do, and when it is time to stop.

And don't underestimate the stability work provides to a population on edge. Sure, we worry about another terrorist attack, especially now that the war has begun. But sitting in your duct-taped home, isolated, in a pool of nervous sweat will only exacerbate anxiety. We should all strike a balance between work and worry as a means to cope with war.

In New York, a town where one third of the workers worked downtown, and more than one third were affected by the twin tower attacks, one of the best places to network is at trauma groups.

You have to interview to get in a group. Not because they’re exclusive, but because peoples’ experiences are so different and the groups, apparently, are most effective if people have similar experiences.

There are groups for people who lost a spouse and there are groups for people who sat in their apartment in Queens watching TV. The group I got put in is filled with people who escaped from their offices by dodging splattering body parts of jumpers. I am the curious standout in the group. As the other members were running away, I was walking closer. I am the authority on what it was like to suffocate under fallen debris.

After a few sessions, though, we all knew each others’ stories, and we all found we were in the same place: Tying to reacclimatize ourselves to the world, which for everyone, included somehow getting back to five days a week at work. Most people are still employed, at the large, or small-but-largely-affected firms you’ve probably read about, like Marsh & McLennen or Cantor-Fitzgerald.

One guy, from a large trading firm, has a cube next to someone who has cried every day for three months but has not gone to counseling. Is it appropriate to suggest counseling? Normally, a suggestion like this would be out of line, but the group agrees that in this case, it would be okay.

A woman in the group was caught in the subway, under the tower when the second plane hit. People panicked and could not decide to get off or not and the doors jammed. Now she won’t get on the subway, so her commute from the Bronx is three bus transfers and a ten-block walk. She is often late to work and she is scared it’s affecting her performance. People in the group gently tell her how they overcame transportation fears. But we all admit to having formed weird transportation rituals to ward off flashbacks.

Sometimes someone remembers something new, and it’s horrifying: “When I fell, I got hit by a severed hand.”

Sometimes the reports are gossipy, and it’s fun to be an insider: “A woman I know was burned on 40% of her body and survived, and her high-profile trading company pays her only $170 a week for disability.” (We all concur that the company is scum.)

Some of us are looking for jobs. One guy who worked at a brokerage firm decided to take a severance package rather than commute to the new office in New Jersey. He said he’s sick of information technology and he wants to work in a nonprofit. The social worker gave him a list of possibilities.

One guy kept talking about his wife who worked in human resources at a big company in tower two. Every time he talks about her — her phone call, her escape —- I hear “human resources.” Finally, I asked him if I could send my resume to her. He gave me her email address and her work and home numbers. I sent the resume, (and my friend, who is not in the group, said, “Oh god, I just interviewed there. I asked the hiring manager what he liked about the company and he said, “Do you mean now or before all my friends died?'”)

One guy quit his job because even a month after the attacks his boss still had not even mentioned the World Trade Center to him. This guy worked in a building that had one side blown off. That means there’s enough of the building left for him to go collect his belongings.

His company scheduled collection times with the cleanup crew. The guy in my group went last week. He said it was creepy to go back because the buildings he went to every day were gone. But it was worth it, he said, because right before the attacks he had ordered PaintShop Pro furtively, for personal use. He stole it when he went back to Ground Zero.

When he said that, the group laughed. “A was sign of normalcy,” the social worker said. A sign of hope to all of us.

My husband takes the subway to work every morning and gets off right in front of the NBC building in Manhattan. That subway stop — Rockefeller Center — is huge and very busy in rush hour, and I'm sure the stop has come up in conversation among insane but unfortunately still-crafty terrorists.

I have asked my husband to get off at a stop right after or right before Rockefeller Center. At first I asked really nicely, like, “I know you really like to get Jamba Juice at the store in the subway station on your way to work, but could you please get off at another station?”

When it was clear he was ignoring me, I tried bribery: I make the bed every morning to compensate for his extra four-block walk to work. He said “Forget it, you never tuck the sheets in tightly.”

Finally, when there was Anthrax at the Post I said, “You are going to die and I am going to be pissed off because when you die, you aren't the one who is home crying, I am. So if you are going to stay married to me, you have to get off at a different stop.” My husband told me that I was overreacting, but as a compromise, he helped me stock up on bottled water as a nod to my water-supply paranoia.

But then NBC got anthrax, just one block away from him. I called him to tell him not to open any mail. He said the only mail he gets at work is the stuff I buy on the Internet and have shipped to his office. I called him back to tell him that his mail was probably in the same post office as the NBC mail. He said then I should probably stop having stuff sent to his office.

He came home from work with tales of troubles that had nothing to do with Anthrax. “The German sales team wants a whole new product in German by the end of the week. It's impossible.” He got hot and sweaty like a person whose life is in danger and then said, “Sales people are always so unreasonable. They should have to be developers for a month before they can make requests of development.”

I felt snitty. I felt like if he was going to downplay my worries, I would downplay his. I decided to say, ” Maybe if you understood the sales process then you'd have more sympathy.” But then I didn't say that because really, it is admirable that he can go on with his work. It is admirable, really, that the European offices are still talking to the American offices when most reports say Europeans are sick of us. I told him I was sorry. I told him not to eat the canned soup because it's part of my emergency supply.

We usually meet on Thursdays for dinner at Rockefeller Center. If I lived anywhere else in America I would suggest that we eat at home. But New Yorkers don’t do that. I met him at the subway stop before Rockefeller Center. We ate at a place on 59th and 6th, which seemed safe as long as no one set Central Park on fire.

He said, “My boss was on the phone all day. His daughter is too scared to go to school. And a guy in my office came into work at 11 a.m. so he didn't have to go through the Lincoln tunnel during rush hour.”

The next day my husband called when he got to work. He said, “I am sweating. I got off the subway one stop early, and I walked seven extra blocks to another juice place.” I said, “Thanks,” and then he said, “I need to work on the German project late tonight. Don't wait up for me.”

My earliest memory of Yom Kippur is one of my dad writing a note for me to give to my second grade teacher: “Please excuse Penelope from school tomorrow. She is Jewish.”

Maybe if there had been other Jews at my school, the note would have had more context. But my dad was apoplectic about the fact that Christmas was an official school holiday and Yom Kippur was not, and he would explain nothing. So I tried, as best as a seven-year-old-could, to explain to the teacher that Yom Kippur is the most important Jewish holiday. I said: “It’s so important that we don’t even eat.”

Now that I’m in charge of my own fridge, I haven’t fasted in years. But I still take the day off to go to synagogue, and I still find myself explaining the holiday to the uninformed: “It’s a time to mourn the dead. It’s a time to be thankful for being alive and to try to figure out how to be a better person next year.” Even if Jews neglect Judaism in their day-to-day lives, most show up to synagogue for Yom Kippur. Some Christians may relate — they may not say the rosary every night, but they never miss Christmas mass.

As a kid, I considered Yom Kippur an interruption of my secular life. When other kids asked about my absence, I told them I was at home sick or had a very long dentist’s appointment so no one would know I was different. As an adult, there are always more Jews in my office than there were in my grade school, but at the office I have found new problems with Yom Kippur.

The first year that I didn't live with my parents I felt rebellious: I worked on Yom Kippur. But that day it felt bad. I told myself that it would be okay if I spent time at work thinking about how to be a better person the next year, but I ended up thinking only a few minutes, locked in a stall in the back of the bathroom.

By the time my career progressed to management jobs, I knew I would feel bad if I didn’t go to synagogue, but sometimes I still skipped Yom Kippur. I worried: What if a meeting was held and since I wasn't there someone delegated all the grunt work to me? I needn’t have worried — all meetings were postponed out of respect to the number of Jews who were out of the office, except for me, who showed up.

I didn't learn my lesson. I worked on Yom Kippur the year I was supposed to give my first presentation to senior management. The printer broke. The presentation was postponed. No one cared. I fasted the rest of the day at my desk.

Another year, my reason for ditching synagogue was less career-driven and more water-cooler-driven. The O.J. verdict was going to be announced, and I didn’t want to miss the communal fun of hearing the verdict at work. I imagined highly-charged debate, or at least a lot of shouting. So I stayed at work, where reaction to the O.J. verdict hoopla was anticlimactic and short-lived.

After that, I usually took a day off with all the other Jews. I came to enjoy the Yom Kippur chatter in the office among Jews because during the rest of the year, Jews are mostly secular and so is the chatter. Yom Kippur would be more convenient if it fell on Christmas (everything’s closed, Jews have nothing to do — a great day to fast!) but I realized that the Yom Kippur interruption of work would not derail my career, it would only derail my weekly schedule.

This last Yom Kippur, which fell on Sep. 27, two and a half weeks after the terrorist attacks, I discovered something new: Yom Kippur gives me a peaceful time that I would not otherwise allow myself at the expense of work. People are still shaking from the World Trade Center attacks and the looming threat of our country at war. We are all expected to get back to work and be productive — while a necessary process, it is one that feels abrupt. Yom Kippur gave me a break. So I did in that time what that time is set aside to do. I mourned those who died. I gave thanks that I was alive. I thought of how to be a better person next year.

Some will call me on the fact that I only lean on my faith when I need it most. But this tragedy has made many of us revisit, reassess, and most of all, re-appreciate. For years I looked at Yom Kippur as an inconvenience — I always felt I would be missing something at work. This year, the timing could not have been better, and I realize I would have missed out on something more had I gone to the office.