I’ve been struggling this week with writing a blog post for a number of reasons. One, nothing has really happened lately. We’ve been chugging along, doing our thangs, like we normally do. Timmy went out of town with his late father’s friends and all their sons for their annual fishing trip, then a quick stop in Atlanta to give out special awards at our high school’s wrestling banquet (celebrating the newly crowned State Champions!) in honor of his father as well as with our friend Jake, then off to Vegas for a work training. Next weekend is his mom’s wedding (when I’ll finally see him), and I’m sure after that, we’ll have tons of interesting and hilarious stories to share. Until then, I’m just taking care of Floyd as a single mom.
(Actually, side note: I did attend a kickball Meetup group in Tampa on Saturday, and I had a great time. It was nice getting out of the house and meeting people while having fun. I’m paying for it dearly today and am walking around like one of our many many senior citizen neighbors here in FL. Turns out that being a yoga devotee doesn’t set you up well for playing kickball. Who knew?)
But I was also having trouble writing anything down because of the horrible events that happened last week. The TX fire was horrendous, and I’m still so sad to hear about that tragedy. What a terrible thing to happen. But the Boston Marathon bombings hit a little too close to home for me and I’ve been definitely dealing with it alone. Not because I don’t have a supportive partner but because it brought me back to another time in my life that Timmy couldn’t possibly understand the same way.
When I started at NYU, I had never really been to NY, other than to visit the campus as a senior in high school. I knew I needed to be, had to be there, and applied early admission. When I found out I was accepted, I quickly decided that I didn’t give a flying f*&k about school anymore and dreamt of my new life as a liberated adult in NYC. It was the start of a brand new life, free of everything I had ever known and it was time to define myself in a entirely new way.
Two weeks later, 9/11 happened.
To say that the morning of 9/11 changed my life is quite the understatement. I heard the first plane hit from my dorm room at Union Square (it sounded like a truck hitting a HUGE pothole), and then my cell started to ring. My mom was calling to make sure that I wasn’t around the financial district because they heard a bomb went off in the World Trade Center. I brushed her off because no way in hell would I be on a walk two miles away that early in the morning as a freshman in college. My class didn’t start until 11 AM and I didn’t plan on waking up until I absolutely had to. But what she said definitely got me up, and I went into the living room where my suitemate was already up and ready for her class. I turned on the tv and told her my mom had called about something happening downtown. And as we watched the news, we saw the second plane hit the tower live. Silence. Dead silence. We had our hands over our mouths, wondering if what we were seeing was real or a movie. We had no idea how much things were going to change after that.
We’ve all heard the stories, we’ve all lived life post-9/11. I don’t need to tell you about all that. But what happened after the bombings in Boston was just too like what happened for us in NYC. Streets being shut down, the media overwhelmingly covering the tragedy, the crazy fear of who could do something like this, and where are they? Are more bad things about to happen? Police, armed guards, military personnel blocking off streets. Being put on lockdown in your building. No cell service. No way of in getting in contact with loved ones. No way of knowing who had been affected or killed by the tragic events. We lived it all that day in NYC. And thankfully for Boston, social media has been a huge difference between the two events, and people were able to get in touch so much easier and faster.
As I watched the news this week, I started to feel a little panicked, a little anxious, a little PTSD-ish. I was experiencing small flashbacks to that day, that week, that month of 9/11, and reflected on how much I had changed since that day. I thankfully wasn’t personally affected by 9/11 or the bombings in Boston, but that doesn’t mean I don’t and didn’t feel what happened. When senseless things happen, it’s difficult to maintain your feeling of control over your life. It’s almost like, what’s the point when it could all be taken away so fast by crazy people? But I think that’s the moment you have to decide that that’s exactly the point. To live life fully, to live life with love and compassion, to live as though you had no other options but to pursue happiness and freedom. Because it can be taken away so fast. By no fault of your own, by someone else with a different, crazy agenda of their own, it could be gone likethat. We are so significantly insignificant in this world. The only way to move forward is just to move forward with hope, love, and an open-mindedness that reminds us that we’re not the only ones on this earth.
I just don’t want to forget that lesson. It’s easy to lose yourself in the minutiae of your life, the small, insignificant details of your most recent fight with a loved one, with traffic, with bills, with whatever. Those aren’t the memories that stick with you in the end though. I’ll probably remember how much my commute sucked living here in Lakeland and driving to St. Pete. But I’ll remember more how much I loved my job, the people I met, the experience I got doing my dream job. I’ll remember how much more seeing my friends at weddings and showers and parties mean now that I don’t live in Atlanta than when I saw them all the time when I lived in Decatur. I’ll remember how much more importantly I see family functions and vacations and how much more I value them than when I did in Atlanta when everyone was within an hour away. I’ll remember how much I built up my relationship with Timmy by taking on this huge life change, living here isolated, challenging ourselves by stepping outside the box, than the fights we had about whatever stupid thing we were fighting about at any given time.
Remember that you’re significant in this world, but that you’re also insignificant too. Regardless of all the things we don’t agree on, we all have that in common.