Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What I have learned from September 11

I had the pleasure of catching up for an extended morning tea chat with my lovely mate Sarah, from work.  We hadn't seen each other for a while and we both unloaded about what has been going on in our lives.  She mentioned that she tries not to chat about work stuff, as she fears it would be unprofessional.  That comment got me thinking.  Hell, as this blog is evidence - I'm an open book.  I think as I've become older, I'm wearing my heart on my sleeve more.  I've had a few colleagues comment that as they walk past the library and look in, they wonder who the unhappy looking person is on the help desk.  Then they realise it's me.   I was a little startled to hear that.  I know when I'm helping people I am smiling and positive, but obviously there are moments between patrons where how I'm feeling is very much apparent.

And I find that very sad indeed.  I'm afraid I can't hide who I am, and in reality I am having a hard time at work.  I told Sarah how I wished we had Managers that inspired me, made me WANT to work for them, that were emotionally intelligent and understanding of the trauma losing 6 colleagues through forced redundancy has caused.  I also wish we had more mentoring and positive reinforcement rather than being told we are critical and negative.  Ok, so I guess you're wondering how this all fits in with September 11.  As the ten year anniversary arrived on sunday, there was a lot of footage on the TV reminding us of the horror.  I remember the anxiety I felt a decade ago, like the rule book had been thrown out and that I felt unsafe.  Just in general. I found it confronting, harrowing and terrifying.  I didn't watch a lot of the specials or read a lot of newspapers about the anniversary.  But what I did tune into was a documentary called Rebirth (check it out on ABC Iview while you can or go to http://projectrebirth.org/).

It didn't show the planes or the jumpers.  What it did do was talk to five people over the course of the last 8-10 years since September 11.  Each person was affected by that day.  One person survived getting out of the Twin Towers, and the rest lost a loved one.  It was a show not about hate, but about grief, acceptance, forgiveness and humanity.  It was about people.  I am lucky enough to be pleasantly surprised by people, and how amazing they can be.  A young woman who lost her fiance said 'grief tells you that you loved someone so much that it hurts to lose them'.  I thought that was such a beautiful sentiment.  A young man who lost his mother said many years on, that he couldn't hate Osama bin Laden.  He was some guy in a cave, and it just seemed stupid to try to hate him.  His focus was on his Mother, not who took her away from him.

Again, this reinforces that relationships between people are the most important thing.  It's great to love and be loved.  To share laughter and be hugged.  Friendship can never be underestimated in my book, and I guess that's what September 11 has taught me.  Connect with people.  Love with all your heart.  Be honest and open.  Sarah and I also talked about real estate (as Peter and I have been on the look out to buy somewhere).  We both said how much we hate the game playing associated with trying to get the right home for the right price.  And we hate the politicking that can go on at work.  I'm just crap at it.  Now I hope you can see why I might be having issues at work.  I can think of more important and productive things to do. We both chorused 'why can't everyone just get along'.  I guess it's yet another reminder for me that I think the interactions we have with others are the important and rewarding bit in life.  I need to hang on to my integrity and be true to myself.  I couldn't focus on allegiances and alliances to get ahead, as I'd rather have a real relationship any day.

Anniversaries are good.  They are a reminder; a marker in life to look at where you are, and perhaps who you are.  Take stock or have a wake up call.  What I have learned from September 11 is to love people and cherish friendships.  This song was part of the documentary and gave me a lump in the throat.  Enjoy.

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