Monday, September 11, 2006

5 Year Reflection

I can hardly believe that we are marking the 5 year mark (I don't want to say "anniversary" it has too many happy connotations to me) since September 11, 2001.

I remember that day so vividly. It was a day in Northampton, MA much like it was today in Boston. Somewhere between Invertebrate Zoology and 19th Century European Art nearly 3,000 people in 3 locations lost their lives. Remember when you thought the worst tragedy of our time would be the death of Lady Di? Yeah, me too.

Since then the world has felt such an enormous amount of pain: there was 9/11 and its horrible aftermath, the invasion in Afghanistan, the Iraqi invasion, the tsunami, two terrible earthquakes, Hurricane Katrina, an escalation in the violence in Darfur, and senseless other acts that we try to understand but can't, loss and terrible pain.

Through all this I am remained shocked and uplifted by the resilience of the human race. It perserveres despite the most oppressive situations imaginable. America has made it for 5 years, even though for a bit it seemed the world would truly end.

It's strange for me to think back on these last five years. They seemed to be marked with tragedy when you look at the bad, but when I think of my own life, these past five years have been nothing but glorious. I've graduated from college, travelled to Africa twice, fell in love, got my first "real" job, and started grad school. I bought my first car (seemingly minor, but a milestone). I've been to more weddings and baby showers than funerals. And my family and friends surround me, and we're pretty damn healthy and pretty damn happy. We're all so lucky and blessed.

In these last five years, I've learned so much about myself. I think I've become a better person. And in a way, I think I have 9/11 to thank for that. It was a smack in the face. It was a message, not of terror, the way the terrorists wanted it to be, though it did have me scared sh*tless for a long time and it still scares me. To me, it said "Go and Live." You never know what day could be your last. So f*cking live while you're alive. Don't waste time on the bullshit (hey even I do that, I admit it) but on the whole, get out there and make a difference to someone, to anyone.

In these last five years I have been overwhelmed by the desire to have a good life and to help anyone I can in need. I have also been overwhelmed by strong feelings about my personal right not to live in fear. F*ck fear, man. There's common sense type fear, like "I don't think I will jump off that cliff into the black abyss of the ocean today" and then there's the fear that terrorists want you to feel. That second thought before getting on the train to go to work. The refusal to fly. The fear of travelling, of seeing and doing new things. The fear of people different than you. I refuse to bow down to that fear. It's my right to live my life free from fear, and that is what I plan to do for the next five years and the five years after that and so on and so on. No one is gonna make me scared to live my life to the fullest.

Anyways, so this is my big post for today. Keep rockin' on America. Woot.

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