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How 9/11 Changed My View of Reality

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It was six months to the day that I had been living in Manhattan when the planes hit the Twin Towers. I was about twenty blocks north getting off the subway that was headed straight to the World Trade Center. I don’t think that I’ll ever forget that moment of shock, confusion, and fear when I saw what happened. It was a feeling that I had never had before and thankfully have never had since.


There is no question that something changed that day for not only me but for millions of Americans, particularly New Yorkers. All of a sudden there was a new reality. And that reality was that everything could change in the blink of an eye. Everything we thought we knew for sure was no longer so. One of the most immediate changes that people started to make was to change careers. People, myself included, realized that life was too short to be living day in and day out in a job that made you miserable. Especially when the only thing you could be sure of was today.


Almost a year after 9/11, I quit my job and moved to Italy to be a waitress in Rome. It opened my eyes to see that another reality was possible. I earned a fraction of what I had made in my previous job but felt a million times richer. I didn’t need much. All I had was today and that day was something I could be proud of and that felt right at that time.


Now, eight years later, I’m curious if the idea of living for today has been forgotten amongst Americans. If, understandably, the demands of everyday life and the current economy have shifted the reality for you? If everything were to change in the blink of an eye, would today’s reality be something that you are proud of?



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