TIME has meaning only because we need it to. Five years is not organically more significant than four, or six, but we imbue it with importance because we need to pause, to remember, to measure, to think. Has it really been five years? It seems like a moment ago. It seems like an eternity.
Tomorrow five years will have passed since that awful morning, and one of my own measures of time is to look back and read what I wrote that day, as the endless loop of planes and flame still played on my television. “Are we going to remember this time around?” I typed through tears. “We have vowed to do better before … sworn to hug our children closer, call our parents more often, stop and smell the roses. And, for a short while, we actually have.”
With 1,825 days of distance, an answer to my question is beginning to form. Yes, we remember. And yes, we are doing better. Over the years, and particularly this anniversary year, my e-mailbox is filled with tales of people who have changed their lives because they remember what they learned.
Some of the changes are tweaks: setting aside time each month to lunch with an old friend, not traveling for work when a conference call will do, not bringing a laptop on vacation. And some of the changes are transcendent: leaving the corporate world to train as a therapist and work with traumatized children; quitting an office job in a building that is too tall with a commute that is too long, and starting a business at home; joining the military; leaving the military. READ MORE