I’ll never forget. You won’t. They won’t. And in the rare case of memory lapse, the media won’t let you.
Today’s long list of errands forced me to burn fossil fuel by driving around. I opted to listen to the radio, rather than my iPod. There’s plenty of talk about remembering what happened eight years ago today. Our president made comments. The mayor of New York commented. And those survivors and relatives of those killed in New York, Pennsylvania and VIrginia also reflected and solemnly prayed or otherwise remembered.
Eight years later and there’s no memorial in New York City. And yet we’ve got a fantastic memorial at the Pentagon and while we’ve got the Garden of Reflection in Pennsylvania, construction for the official Flight 93 Memorial has yet to break ground. What have we been doing? Arguing. Politicking. Special interests. Selfishness. Greed. Indecision. Ego. And what else? It amazes me how something so important to our country can quickly become a red herring.
Enough of that.
Did the events of 9/11 change your life? After the shock, sadness and anger subsided and the flags slowly disappeared from houses, cars and fashion, what did you do? Were you affected? Or did you think you were affected because you should?
Me? Yeah. The events changed my life. Big time.
I was in a stuffy conference room at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas with about 20 of the leaders of my company at the time. It was all business. But somehow I felt that the company I founded was becoming more distant. Like a shooting star, when I first had the vision there was excitement, movement energy. But in that conference room we weren’t waving flags. We were stunned. But we continued with business. We had to. Then the golf tourney. The decadent dinner and wine.
My wife at the time managed to find the only rental car available in all of Las Vegas. A convertible Ford Mustang. Flights were cancelled. Everyone was in flux. With one of my partners, I drove back to Orange County, California, with the top down.
A week later I drafted my resignation letter. Good god. I resigned from the company I founded. I was giving up my baby — my shooting star. But it felt good. Liberating. Then I had to tell my friends.
After a few months of counseling, my wife and I decided we’d be happier apart — so we amicably split and divorced. I started another company. Then I decided to ride my motorcycle around the world — alone.
And I did.
I’ve been back for a year now. And the Digital Tavern has been given a facelift. And today I’ve committed myself to being more tenacious and prolific when it comes to writing. After all, 9/11 did change my life.
Did it change yours?
In many ways, it seems my path paralleled yours. I recall watching the news that morning, mouth agape, in utter shock and shaken to the core. I realized, most poignantly, that life can end at any moment – that going through the motions and putting on a happy face doesn’t cut it. My wife and I split within 6 weeks of that date, both realizing that unhappiness was buried within the mundane day-to-day routine, and whatever joy this world has in store for us needed to be actively sought out.
Within reason, I try to live my life without fear – though most decisions still seem tempered by reason. I laugh a little easier, shrug aside disappointment, take chances when I can, and generally live a fuller life. Yes, indeed, I was changed that day.
Jason – Thanks for your note here. And as I’ve always said, living life without fear is perhaps the only way one can realize all possibilities. It’s important for all of us to remember (and learn) to trust. Trust ourselves. And trust others. Only then can one connect — truly connect with our passion and purpose — and with humanity. And after all, isn’t that what it’s all about!