Thursday, September 11, 2008

The "One Year Ago" Game

Do you play this...

One year ago, I was working ----. I was seeing -----. I was writing/reading/watching ----.

I think everyone does, particularly on occasions that are marked publicly, like anniversaries and birthdays and holidays, and events like September 11th remembrances. It's hard to believe that horrific tragedy happened 7 years ago. So much has progressed in that time - around the world and in my own personal life. Probably yours too.

I am definitely one of those people who marks time: a week, a month, a year. And I confess to long sessions of navel-gazing on some of the bigger days like "big" birthdays and New Year's. Sometimes the game is fun, as in, "A year ago I was coming back from a fantastic trip to Hawaii." Or "A year ago, I had just published my first novel."

But so often, it's merely depressing because inevitably you're looking back on a time when you were younger and had fewer responsibilities. I think that's especially true on a day like 9/11. We were all younger then and I don't mean simply seven years younger. We were more naive, blissfully unaware of the events to come, the wars to come. Our responsibilities as a nation and as individual Americans were personal ones. Were any of us thinking about our presence around the globe? The concept of a global economy was still very much a bright and rosy future; no one was anticipating the kinds of layoffs and outsourcing that would happen in 7 years' time.

The hardest part about growing older is the increased responsibilities you have in your life. You no longer have time to memorize every song on the Billboard Top 100. You don't have time to be totally current with your fashion sense and hair style and the purse that you're carrying. It's time we recognize that as a country. We have to accept we have certain obligations in this world, to carry our weight and be part of a team effort for global responsibility.

We are not "us" and the rest of the world is "the other." We are all on this planet together.