Tribute, Part 6: 9/11/10

The weather today was spot-on the same as 9/11/01—cloudless blue skies, gorgeous warm autumn day. I heard people say it was weird that the weather was so similar. Honestly, it was just beautiful. It was a beautiful day nine years ago, too. Even a tragedy of such epic scale can’t fully overshadow nature.

I spent the anniversary as I have for the last several years: doing very little out of the ordinary. I did take the time to walk down to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade to look at the revised skyline of Lower Manhattan. I started my day watching a few minutes of the memorial ceremony on NY1. I wept at the moment of silence marking the impact of the second plane, then turned off the television.

Life goes on. Life goes on.

My aunt commented here that she was born 6 months before Pearl Harbor, an event that went on to define her generation. Are we the generation defined by 9/11? And if so, what does that mean?

My cohort certainly is first in line to be the folks most affected by event: I was 22 on 9/11, just starting my career—starting my life—right here in New York City. But if 9/11 has defined me, defined us, I really don’t know how.

I think we’re too close to it all to see something like that yet with any sort of insight. I suspect the conventional assumption would be that September 11th has made us a people governed by fear and suspicion. I don’t think that’s the case. I hope not. In my community, I see a group of people who are resilient, who bounce back from adversity and can easily shake off unexpected events; a group of people who fight for each other in the midst of difficulty.

We’re not only the post-9/11 generation; we’re those whose careers were meant to be coming of age as the bottom dropped out of the economy. We made less money. We moved into smaller homes. We blogged about our frustration. We got roommates. We took off for Europe. We mourned the past and began to recreate our futures. For the most part, we rolled with it—Flight 93 reference intentional.

These are interesting times, indeed. True, this is my first time being in my 30s, but I have to assume that this whole, “third-life crisis” complete career shift trend is a new and present phenomenon? Grant-writers becoming caterers, business owners becoming pastors, caterers becoming baristas—in some cases, shifts dictated by lay-offs but continued by choice.

Nine years. I think I’m as confused as I was then. But I’m a whole lot more confident, because now I know that what little I do have is built on a rock-solid foundation of that which really matters. I didn’t have that foundation in 2001. I was just trying to create a pretty facade on a shaky cornerstone. One big huff and puff of global terrorism, and my house was thoroughly blown to the ground.

While I don’t have everything figured out, I now know that I know that it’s all going to wind up OK—even when it’s not. If I can make it here, so they say… if I can make it through that?

Anything is possible. I’ll keep choosing to believe.


1 Response to “Tribute, Part 6: 9/11/10”

  1. 1 Jackie 12 September 2010 at 11:31

    Jen, I have enjoyed all your blogs, but the 9/11 tribute is so very insightful, and moving. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on what it was like to be a New Yorker on that day. I have to amend one of your comments ….. I was born 6 months and 10 days AFTER Pearl Harbor …. Not that it matters, in the context I was writing, but because I am vain enough even at my advanced age to not want to be thought of as a year older than my actual age! :-)(I even went back and re-read my comment, to be sure it was not my aged brain, and fingers, that had typed it wrong!!)

    You “hit the nail squarely on the head”, to use a very old fashioned phrase … life does indeed go on, and we humans have been surviving, and thriving, and hopefully becoming better people, for countless centuries. I don’t believe in a lot of things, but I have complete faith in my belief that most people are basically good, and as long as the balance remains tipped in the favor of good, no amount of hatred and evil can ever triumph over the good!

    I know you will continue to embrace every day, and I hope you’ll continue the blogs as well. No matter the subject, they are always interesting, entertaining and often thought provoking.

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