It’s been seventeen years since September 11th 2001, but I recall it vividly as so many of us do. I was sitting in A.P. Economics in my senior year of high school when I heard the news. As someone who watched politics both internationally and domestically like a hawk (I planned to make a career and life out of it) I had been predicting an attack on New York City for years (possibly by terrorists) and I automatically knew who had likely been responsible. I remember telling my economics teacher my ideas and seeing his face search for any evidence in his mind to support or discredit my impressions. But he was silent.
But after that…everything changed for the worse. Politics became increasingly toxic and bitter. Fear grew in everyone’s hearts and minds like a cancer. Brave men and women went to war and many sacrificed their lives. But the world became more and more chaotic… It still is. Thankfully, we haven’t seen any more death and destruction through a single act of violence in the US to the level of 9/11 but…it has not been a peaceful era to say the least.
So here I sit, a housewife, having never quite finished my political science degree (I was about under 30 credits short I believe)… After gaining almost a half a year of college credit through A.P. courses in high school I spent one year at a decent Midwestern university in the honors program and four years in college in Pennsylvania. And then I did one semester online at the first university (UND) when I was first pregnant with my son in an attempt to finish it. But I just couldn’t complete that degree… It was almost entirely out of exhaustion from undiagnosed hypothyroidism when I was there (as I’ve discussed) but I have to account for a little bit of it also being from an aversion I developed to the study of politics. And I think that aversion came from the feeling of this age.
It’s been a time of hatred, fear, anger and confusion. And, for me, the best thing to do has been to re-emerge outside of the ugliness. And I already loved art anyway…
I was fascinated by foreign relations (I did canvassing for two politicians and other work though) and had a very lovely internship I’m quite confident I could have secured in D.C. with a foreign policy advisor to a U.S. Senator on the Foreign Relations Committee (I had a private, professional/personal meeting with the advisor). Once I even had an advisor to at least a couple of US Presidents tell me that a question I asked in regard to the Middle East was very astute. But…beside being very tired, I just couldn’t stomach it all. I couldn’t force myself to engage as I should have and I let it all pass by me. And then, of course, I planned to try again in Wales and I met Mark…
Now, I’m planning to finish a PhD by my late 40’s, but in history. Possibly art history. And I’m going to keep writing. And I love working with antiques, including selling them.
…I doubt I’ll get directly involved in politics again though. If I do, I’ll be coming at it from a skeptical place with much less of my heart and life invested. Sadly, or not.
But that’s truly nothing, of course, to being one of those who died or lost their loved ones on 9/11. I don’t mean to say otherwise than that for a second.
Still, we’ve all been affected. One way or another. And it’s mind-boggling to consider what would have been for all of us.
Of course, less pivotal moments affect us equally but…these days of intensity in history do stand out. Indeed. And every year in September we are reminded again.
At any rate, let’s try to be more loving and appreciate each other more. Because, if nothing else, this day teaches us the fragility of all of it.