I think everyone feels differently about the best way to spend 9/11, especially the 10-year anniversary.
The thing that I’ve found is that the events from 9/11 have affected me more and more as I’ve gotten older. When I was 16, I understood that something bad had happened, but I couldn’t really relate to it. It didn’t scare me because it felt so far away. I didn’t know what it would be like to live in a big city and I couldn’t even fathom what it would feel like to have someone you love just not come home from work one day. I don’t think I was too young to understand, but I think I just chose to let the distance keep me feeling safe. I didn’t want to relate.
Then I moved to New York City and I had my getting it moment. Within a few months of living in the city, I just got it. I understood why, of all the places they could attack, New York was the one that would hurt us. Once I lived there and got swept up in the culture that was just so fierce, so indestructible, so fuck-you-for-walking-so-slow, and I understood that the city both felt huge and felt small, that it was a place where people connected over a shared love of being awesome, diverse, and, well, the best at everything. I remember reading in 2001, after the attacks, that if DC is the brains of America, then New York is the gut. After living there, I got it. And then it got to me.
It continues to. I have struggled watching the coverage of the Ground Zero over the past few weeks because it makes me feel so incredibly sad. It’s scary to know that life can change so suddenly. I still can’t relate to what people went through on that day, but something about how I feel has changed.
I think I’m the type of person who wants to feel prepared for the worst, which is probably why I like watching Law & Order: SVU and planning how I won’t get stalked and murdered. So while watching the footage from the attacks yesterday, I was compelled to put together my disaster kit.
Inspired by 9/11, Bonnie Bucqueroux, and the October issue of Women’s Health Magazine, I hit the Web to figure out which items I’d want to have ready and waiting if wildfires, hurricanes, or anything else disastrous comes my way.
Here are some things I did:
- Printed out maps to the nearest Red Cross locations (from home and work).
- Added the Red Cross shelter finder app to my phone.
- Printed off hurricane evacuation maps.
- Signed up for weather alert texts from the local news station.
- Collected pictures of Eric, the dogs, and me and made copies for home and both of our offices to have handy in case we were separated.
- Printed off a financial first aid kit from Operation Hope.
Once that was taken care of, I printed out an emergency kit shopping list from ready.gov. Then Eric and I hit up Wal-mart to stock up on supplies. We got everything on the shopping list and then some. At home, I put all the “Things you’d want if you need to PTFO in five minutes” items into a large rolling suitcase and organized folders with “Things you’d want printed and ready if you had to evacuate your office” to take to work. (Hint: If you wear heels to work, your work kit should contain flats!) I’m still finishing my financial first aid kit, to go into the new fireproof box (which feels kinda badass), but on the whole, I feel a lot more prepared.
I know no one wants to think about this stuff, so I figured I’d do it on a day when I’d probably be thinking about sad and terrible things anyway. The reality is, though, that thinking about it is surprisingly empowering. No, I don’t feel 100 percent prepared, but I don’t have that nagging feeling when watching the news that I had before, the feeling that I’m avoiding something. So put on your big-girl panties and add this to your to-do list! (Unless, of course, you already have, and I’m the one who is late to the party.)