It was a rare overcast morning in Phoenix, and I woke up with a blanket of angst draped over me. Sometimes it's like that. A piece of dream lingers in your consciousness, coloring your waking perceptions; or the alarm clock yanks you from sleep at just the wrong moment, jarring your awareness. Not being a morning person, I'm accustomed to this pall. I plunked my legs over the side of the bed, and braced for the day.
I'm thinking back to the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, when our world made a permanent shift to a slightly different universe. Like many people, I remember it like a damaged movie reel: disjointed, with pieces missing.
I'm not a newswatcher in the morning, and at the time, I lived alone. I showered, dressed and coffeed as usual. Got in my car and relied on music to calm my commuter's nerves—not that it was necessary. Traffic was sparse. But it wasn't until I entered office parking that I knew something was truly wrong. The garage was nearly empty. Quiet, like a tomb. I parked, bristling at the wispy chill rising through me. The world seemed eerily still, and I experienced a small panic as I tried to think what day it was.
At last a co-worker came shuffling around the corner. My relief at this human affirmation came up hard against his devastated gaze. I swirled a bit in confusion until he explained. The Twin Towers had been attacked. Thousands were dead. And our company was sending us home to be with loved ones.
The next few days are a blur, except I recall having to fly and being intensely anxious about it. We were hosting an Inside Self-Storage Expo in Nashville, Tenn., not a week after the travesty. We decided to move forward with the event, thinking time with industry friends and colleagues could be a salve on this horrible wound. Amazingly, people came. Not a lot, but some. We took comfort in each other. We focused on some business, but mostly on our shared sentiment and gratitude for our many blessings.
The memory of 9/11 may move farther back in time, but stays near to our hearts. Take a moment today to honor all that was lost those years ago, both tangible and intangible. And if you'd like to reach out to your industry community to share, please join us in this online discussion: Where Were You on 9/11/2001?
This weekend, savor something you really love, remembering how precious and wonderful it is.