I watched MSNBC today and they showed the events of 9/11 in real time from their broadcast that day. as the events happened, they didn't have answers, the news was new to them, but I knew what was going to happen next, and watched how they discovered things as they played out. I couldn't turn it off. I know how it ends. I know that everything that happened that day will eventually become a conspiracy theory. I know that war was just around the corner. I know I cried that day. I know I walked around NYC in a daze that day. I know I ended up at my bar that day and bartended until wee hours in the morning because it was all we I what to do. I know I served drinks to people who had traces of ash in their hair and lightly covering the life trauma that would become apparent on their faces for years to come. I hugged people who lost friends. I answered phone calls from friends of the bar who were reporting of missing friends of the bar. I remember the facts. I remember the outline. But what was going on in my heart? What impact did those events have on me?
Perspective. That's all I can say. In the weeks leading up to it, and the year after, I put life in perspective that has hardly been touched since then. My mom was sick, the physical world around me was being attacked, my dad was injured, my brother got cancer, friends lost their jobs, cousins were shipped to Iraq..... and I had a lady at my bar yelling at me because she asked for one ice cube in her whiskey and I accidentally gave her two. Perspective. It's really why I wear the Livestrong bracelet around my wrist. It's a daily reminder that no matter what I deal with on a daily basis, life can be so much worse.
I've written this before, but I believe we have forgotten the feeling after 9/11. I'm afraid it would take another disaster to get us there, but what can I do as a 5'9, 175 lbs man in Orlando FL that can help our society just make life a little easier? Help find perspective. I write this sitting alone in my apartment, with no one close enough to me to have a direct impact on them, but write and hope that all my friends, past friends, family members, past relationships, people I don't even know will just stop and look in the eyes of their surrounding humans, and just stop worrying. You're there. You are meant to be there. God never gives us anything we can't handle. It hurts. It seems like a mountain we can never get over. But we have others to help us. You have me. You have a neighbor. And back in 2001, I had 11 million people to hold hands with and face the challenges of tomorrow.
We always think we can have more. I remember when I drank, 2 drinks would make me feel good, so 3 must make me feel even better, and 4 would make me feel better than that! Well, we all know that's not true, it usually just gets very bad after that. Why are we scared to live in the moment and be happy with what we have? Why can't that 2 drink feeling be enough? On 9/12, we were. We weren't worried about succeeding in our goals in the next year. We were worried about today and only today. What could we do today that would help us get through and help us sleep better that night? We have stopped living in the now. I go to bed now worried about getting a decent job after grad school and making sure I have enough money to retire. One of my heroes said "Life is what's happening when you're busy making other plans". Perspective. Who do you love? Why are you worried about your future together? Live in the moment. Hug them. Tell them you love them and you're so blessed a higher being brought you together. Call your parents and thank them for every sacrifice they ever made to make you the person you are today. Call a teacher. Thank them for taking time out of their life to make sure you could reach the potential inside of you. Thank your waiter. Thank the person that held the door for you. Thank the cashier who could smile at you even though they're doing their job just to make some money to feed themselves.
I know this is deep and all, but guess what: I'm not going to live forever. And if my writing seems cliched and melodramatic, don't worry, I'll die someday and you won't be burdened by these spiritual thoughts. I hate that it takes a day like this for me to get in touch with these feelings again, but I realized today that for the past 9 years, I have been lucky enough to live by these standards almost daily. At my restaurant, when shit hits the fan, at funerals, when asshole drivers are around me, when idiots bother me with their carelessness of my personal space. But guess what? I always feel bad afterwards for letting it affect me to the point it does. Because who cares? None of those people are even in my vicinity right now, and when you let negativity into your life, you can't be 100% of the person I know you can be.
Why are we so scared as humans? Why are we afraid to fail? Why do we always want to be right? Why don't we take chances on opportunities? Why do I think I don't deserve happiness? Why do people think that 3rd or 4th beer could make them feel happier than they are right now? Look at where you are RIGHT NOW. Maybe you think you could be happier because you're not living in all that that moment has to offer? Stop. Breathe. Life is full of choices. Sometimes the smallest choice can be the difference. Perspective. Smile. Don't look at our country and just see the bad things, find one thing, and just smile. We make life harder than it has to be. Don't argue. Don't spread gossip. Don't be negative. We didn't know what those terms were on 9/12. We just hugged and gave all the thanks in the world of those who stood by our sides, our family members who called and worried about us from outside of the city, and we held up the American flag whenever we could because we had pride and we were telling the world, no matter what happens, we believe in ourselves and we believe in each other.