I'm writing this blog entry on September 11th, 2011. As the whole world is aware of, this is the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attacks. Ten years ago, we all found out that you can lose everything you have in an instant.
Two years ago, my wife and I took a trip to New York City. The first place we went when we got to the city was Ground Zero (site where the WTC used to be). It was pretty intense to walk around the area and think about what had happened there. I remember the cab driver who took us to the site because he told me he was working in NYC when 9/11 took place. He told us that smoke was still coming out of the rubble three months after it happened.
Two days before we visited Ground Zero, I had competed in a weightlifting meet in New Jersey. I totaled 300 kilos at the meet, hitting a 137 snatch and 163 clean and jerk. These weights are well below my lifetime bests, but I had just turned 37 years old and I was happy to still be totaling 300 at that age. I was looking forward to even bigger totals in the future, but I suffered a severe knee injury about eight months after that meet. I've had surgery to fix the damage and I'm on the comeback trail as we speak. I know I'll be able to compete again, but a 300 total might not be possible. We'll have to wait and see. Because I love lifting so much, I'll be happy as hell to get on the platform again regardless of the weights I can hit. But as it stands right now, that 300 total I did in New Jersey might be the last time I ever get that number.
I guess the point of all this is that you have to be grateful and happy about all the good things you have, because you never know when you might lose them. My lifting situation is nothing compared to the severity of 9/11, obviously. I would never trivialize the memories of the deceased by trying to compare it with what I've gone through. But in both cases, the learning experience you can take away is that you should love your life and live it the best you can while you've still got the chance. The great American playwright Eugene O'Neill had a line in his masterpiece Long Day's Journey Into Night that I've always remembered. He said, "You've got to take advantage of the sunshine before the fog comes back." I think that line is telling us that it's smart to show appreciation for the good people and good fortune you have in your life. Right now, as I write this, my wife is in the kitchen cooking a good dinner for us. We're going to enjoy the meal, watch some of our favorite shows on tv, and relax in our home. I hope you all do something like this today, because it's the right thing to do.