This is my second year being out of the country for 9/11 and to be honest, the only reason I spent any time thinking about it this year was because of the fact that it happened (now, over a) decade ago. Which, holy cow, ten years?
Ten years ago I was running around as a junior, dealing with all that nonsense that high school throws on everyone that passes through those doors. I had a driver's license but no car. I was on the swim team. I was dating a guy I don't date anymore. I'm pretty sure that I had a solid D in physics and was thrilled about it.
That morning Tanner walked into my first hour and said that a plane had crashed into a building in New York, which my teacher brushed off as a joke because Tanner was late to class (again) and was known for saying things that were only based loosely on facts. By my third class I was being told that the White House was on fire, a plane had also been crashed into the Pentagon and that we were being invaded. After third period everyone in the school was glued the news, only tearing ourselves away to go to our next class or to run to the bathroom.
Ten years later, I have grown up. I pay my own bills. I have to feed myself and do my own laundry. I moved so far away from my parents that I live half a day ahead of them. I date a different boy. I have dogs that are all mine instead of family pets. I have had office jobs and quarter life crises and broken hearts and hangovers. Flying on airplanes turned into a test of patience and a game of wills. Suddenly people were scared of other people for no reason. There have been times of love and unity and times of people pointing at each other screaming lies because they are scared of something they can't see. Osama Bin Laden was killed.
That is a lot of stuff.
Ten years later, I found myself in Fukuoka, Japan. Half a world away from those white high school hallways, drinking cocktails out of cans with new friends. We held our drinks in the air, said a short prayer of goodwill to sky, tapped our cans together, took good long swigs to be sure that our good vibes would travel far out into the night. We told each other about where we were when we learned about the history that was unfolding that day.
Ten years from now I can only hope that I find myself in another place with cocktails and friends. Maybe our memories will be a bit more fuzzy. Maybe there will be kids running around screaming, making it hard to have a conversation. Maybe we will also get to talk about when the war ended. Hopefully we won't have another infamous date to talk about as well. Where ever that place is, I hope it's full of the good feelings and love that we tried to articulate in that toast.