Fifteen years is a long time. Listening to the memorials for the 9/11 disaster, I find myself thinking about two things – the thousands and thousands of people of all nations who have lost their lives in war since then – and the changes that have happened to me and in the world since then.
Canadians were heroes that day; George W. Bush read a story about a goat. I’m sure he did a lot of other things that day, too, but that’s all I saw. That and the towers falling down over and over and over again.
I heard about the disaster at work. I was working in public health, on the family health team, and we raced downstairs to see the disaster on the office television. Internet news wasn’t the thing yet. The crashes altered our functioning. They destroyed a media campaign a couple of us had been working on about fetal alcohol syndrome. We’d gone through the loops of approval, community engagement, la di da, and it perished with barely a sigh. Just the money was gone. Such a colossal waste of time and money, but then I soon felt that most such health campaigns were the same.
They seemed especially so after the disaster and the wars that followed. what’s the point in pushing healthy eating when half the world is fighting for life?
Since that time, I changed jobs 4 times, moved 9 times, wrote a bunch of stories, was published a bit, started needle felting, learned the ukulele. I took the train across the country. I went to Newfoundland. I moved to the East Coast, leaving family and friends behind, started over.
I divorced. I lost 50 lbs. I was diagnosed with MS. I gained them back. My son, then my daughter, stopped speaking to me. He remains silent. My other sons grew up and away. I gave up on work, on parenting, on weight loss.
I met and loved a couple of men. One wisely broke my heart. The other one’s heart I broke. I gave up on love.
In the meantime, we all gave up freedoms. I travelled by plane, stripping off my shoes when going to the US. People somewhere started reading our emails and tracking our phone calls. The War on Terrorism, even less effective than the War on Drugs, had started. Our world turned to the right, to the intolerant, to the uncharitable. Fascist leaders got elected here, there, and everywhere. One is even running for President. And North Korea plays with atomic weapons like they are kids’ toys.
But in the corners of the world, and my own personal disasters, things are changing. There’s a light wind of hope – only light so far.I could be imagining it. In my ear, it whispers homeostasis, that wonderful word that describes how everything gradually swings back into balance.
I’m getting back into balance, more settled, less windblown. Nothing is perfect, but things are less imperfect.
World-wise, a few gracious visionary leaders are being elected. Maybe there will be more. Or maybe things will go completely off the rails and we’ll all be dust by this time next year. In any case, spring will come again, and things will push forward to balance, whether or not we are part of it.