On 9/11, I was sitting in my cube, beginning another routine day of work. A co-worker said that a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Centers. I figured it was a little out of control Cessna being flown by an inexperienced pilot. And even after I saw the pictures, even after I drove to my boss’s apartment and watched the towers collapse on live TV, the magnitude of this event wasn’t sinking in. This is, after all, something that we read about in history books – the attack on Pearl Harbor, the assassination of JFK. And now our kids will read about this.
We are a fairly spoiled generation, speaking for those of us born in the ’70s and ’80s. Not that we were all spoiled by our parents (I know I wasn’t), but we have lived in a relative time of peace, haven’t been drafted to war, and didn’t have to fight for the freedoms we so enjoy. As a result, it’s easy to take things for granted. If I hear one more band on the radio whining about how terrible there lives are while they rake in millions of dollars, I’m going to be sick. Not that money buys happiness, but if you choose the pursuit of money over the “pursuit of happiness,” then don’t complain. We have the freedom to live our lives as we choose. And with those freedoms come consequences to our actions and lifestyles.
On the flip side of the coin, while we didn’t have to fight for our freedom and capitalist economy, we sure do work hard to maintain it. Did you know that we in the United States of America work more hours per week AND take less vacation time per year than any other industrialized nation in the world? That means less time for family, friends, faith, fun, relaxation, and the appreciation of all of the things that we work so hard to maintain. Kind of a catch-22, isn’t it?
I didn’t ask the front desk for a wake-up call on 9/11, but I got one anyway. We are mortal. Life is fragile. We are guranteed only two things after birth – life and death. The rest is up to us.