Eleven years ago, I got a lesson in perspective.
I was living in Battery Park in lower Manhattan. I was on the street, just two blocks away, and saw some horrible things you don’t need in your head. Afterwards, it was almost three months before we could get back to our apartment.
I lost neighbors. I lost my neighborhood. And I lost my delusional sense of having control over my life.
Like a lot Americans, particularly those who were in the immediate vicinity, I had to deal with some level of post-traumatic stress disorder. But a few months later, something interesting happened. America went off on a revenge-fueled jingoistic rant, and I had found some perspective.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a horrific day. And we should do everything in our power to prevent anything like it from happening again.
But, 3000 Americans also died of heart disease that day - just like every day. 3000 Americans died in automobile accidents that month - just like every month. The attacks that day, though tragic, weren’t an “existential-level” event. America will go on. The human race will go on.
We have to recognize that we’re living in the least violent time in the history of humanity. And to treasure the opportunities that gives us every single day.
It helped me.
*Photo above was the view from my apartment