Clearing Our Tense Past
It was just a simple carton of yogurt but the expiration
date made me drop it
like a live salmonella culture: September 11. The anniversary
the nation has
nervously awaited in our collective subconscious is here.
Could it happen
again, we wonder. Are we safe to fly, drive or go to a baseball
How can we as a country, as journalists, as Americans make
sense of a day
that left us with images more haunting than wed ever
see in a Cineplex?
Ive spent a lot of time during the last year trying
to process Sept. 11,
categorizing it and packaging it neatly as we reporters so
often do. But I
cant. I doubt any of us will ever understand what would
lead people to hate
so much that theyd take thousands of innocent lives
down with them.
So we have two choices as we remember this date wed
rather forget: 1.
Continue to live in fear. Or, 2. Move forward. Eat yogurt
that expires that
day, take planes, take our chances and go about our jobs and
Putting Sept. 11 behind us is a task as large as clearing
the debris the
terrorists left behind. But heres one way to start
resolve your own
past. Understand that all those little nagging unresolved
failures, traumas, heartaches and even embarrassments from
our past sap us
personally almost as much as Sept. 11 drains the whole country.
learn from our past but not live according to it.
How do you know if something is unresolved in your life? It
eats away at you
like a scanner in a newsroom. You may dream about it, replay
it in your mind
with different endings or use it to blame current shortcomings
in your life.
You may also use it as an excuse not to take chances with
people, jobs or
As a coach, Ive been surprised to discover how many
adults still blame
their parents or a less-than Brady Bunch childhood for their
perform well now. They remain cocooned in their perceptions
a familiar but
not always accurate place.
Make a list of all the unresolved matters in your life
a lost job, a
relationship that ended poorly, a loved one who died, your
an error in your own judgment. Now decide what you can do
to permanently rid
yourself of each piece of baggage. You may need to call someone,
letter or write one and tear it up.
If you were hurt by someone else, particularly your parents,
you may need to
understand that they were probably doing the best they could
with what they
knew at the time. If a loved one has died, what can you do
that would best
honor that persons memory? If you made a mistake, how
can you repair it?
Send flowers, a card, a sincere note of apology.
Sept. 11 taught us what we take for granted in this country
unpredictable our lives really are. Too unpredictable to carry
resentments or baggage from the past. Take some steps this
week to repair
your own history and maybe the country can begin to do the