Five years ago today, I woke up, stumbled out of bed, poured a bowl of cereal and sat down to watch some TV before driving into the city to finalize my travel plans. It was two days before I was due to leave on a month-long jaunt to Europe, my consolation prize for not getting in to the law school I wanted. (Turned out to be a fantastic turn of events, cause I did my creative writing degree instead, and am 99.9% sure if I had gone to law school I would have murdered myself or someone I loved due to sleep deprivation and general anxiety issues).
Anyway, so I was munching on my breakfast, SB was almost out the door to class, and I'm watching the Today show and they cut to footage of a plane running into the World Trade Center.
Things changed for everyone that day. And even though I don't like to look at things like that with a "woe is us" attitude, I didn't, and still don't, consider it melodramatic to share in the sorrow of that day. Everyone, everywhere (I did end up taking my trip, and met lots of people all across Europe, and had lots of conversations about the attack) lost a confidence that had once been inherent, not an innocence, but a sureness of what the dangers in our lives are, and what we are safe from. That things like that just don't happen. Then suddenly they did happen. And suddenly there was this global awareness that anything, literally any thing, could happen at any moment and change everything.
I don't generally draw a whole lot of inspiration from things I see in the media (maybe because I mostly watch Law & Order and CSI and if they inspired me to do something, I would be in jail or the looney bin by now) But today, among all the 9/11 stuff on Ellen there was a segment, about a woman named Ann Nelson who had saved a copy of her "100 things to do before I die" list, and then she died in the World Trade Center, and her mom found the list on her laptop like three years later, and now it's been published in all kinds of newspapers, magazines, and on TV.
I think it's the most important list to have. I think in writing it, you outline what is most important to you and by re-visiting it you can see your own growth, and remind yourself of your identity. I also think it is something that needs to be shared - and not necessarily while you're around. It's like an emotional will, and by leaving it behind, it can remind people of the fabric you were made up of. Especially if you keep track of what you've actually done and what you haven't.
So, everyone, write your lists. And share them, or don't. But have them, and use them. Make them bold. Make them full of big things. I'm going to write mine. But I haven't decided if I'll share it or not.