Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Day My World Underwent a Major Reboot

This was a question posted a few days ago in one of my groups:  Almost 10yrs to the day, where were you that tragic Sept 11 day and how has it changed you or your perspective/s of the world particularly how it relates to your family and parenting/raising/educating your children?

This question struck a chord with me because I was there.  To say that it changed my priorities in life is an understatement.

To put things in perspective, my trip to the US in 2001 was my first trip on my own and my last one as a Singleton. It was my first time away from the distractions brought about by family, friends and work. Much of my alone time in SF was spent on a bench by the water near my uncle’s house, watching the ducks paddle by and contemplating the meaning of my life. Heck, 30 was a few years away and I was nowhere close to meeting my 5 year goals.  My end conclusion? I needed to do more. Be more.

I still remember the sleepless nights I spent glued to the tv, listening to the fearmongers and wondering if my flight back to Manila would be safe. The escape from near death scrambled my priorities. Or rather, corrected them. Here a few of the things which I learned from those few days.

1. The years are short. If you haven’t read Gretchen’s Rubin’s book “The Happiness Project”, do grab a copy. I have found that the happiest moments in my life were the small, unplanned incidents – a stroll down the beach with my family, an hilarious and futile attempt to fly a kite... the list goes on.
2. Success is a choice.
3. Those who can, DO... Those who can’t, Criticize. Be like Guliani. I’d rather be the one who tried, failed spectacularly and got back on my feet instead of the one gabbing away in the shadows of his or her discontent.
4. Your values form an intrinsic part of who you are. It will be extremely hard to reset your moral compass once you compromise your core principles. As a parent, it is our responsibility to ensure that our children understand and internalize this.
5. Make sure that your mind and heart are synchronized.
6. Don’t bother trying to keep up with the Jones. We are all equal in the face of an earthquake, bagyo or bomb.
7. Surprise, surprise, I can sometimes be wrong.   I'm still learning to be the better person I can be.
8. Follow Jill Bolte Taylor’s advise to “spend more time running the deep inner peace circuitry of our right hemispheres”

9. Be self-aware in your relationships. Respect, kindness and happy memories are the highest denomination of currency in our emotional banks.

10. Be sensitive.  Be open to other cultures and practices. Separate fact from bias and teach perspective. Let’s face it, we cannot get rid of bias – we are all biased. But we can teach our children to look at multiple perspectives.

11. Find the time.  Live while you're alive.

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