I am not quite sure how to put into words what happened last night in Paris, but I will do my best. Writing has helped me make sense of a lot of life’s tragedies, curveballs, and sadness.
I was standing in line yesterday at the Chase bank on the Circle around 4:00 PM, waiting to order my euros and an AP alert popped up on my phone saying a bomb had exploded in Paris. My first thought was ‘Horrible. I hope everyone is ok,’ and second, ‘I hope my dad isn’t watching Fox News right now.’ The news continued to get worse and it wasn’t until I got home around 6:00 PM that I was motionless watching the images on television.
I leave for DC in five days and while the original plan was to go to Paris, our plans are now uncertain. A two hour phone call last night with my best friend in DC resulted in a lot of silence while we both watched the news together in complete shock and debated what to do. Our parents encouraged us to go the Iceland/London route, while we discussed the importance of not letting the terrorists win.
We reflected back to 9/11 and the time it took for us to get back to some sense of normal, yet we are Americans and did what we do best. We came together and showed the world that we would not back down. The terrorists would not scare us from living our lives.
However, we cannot fathom enjoying Paris at such a sad time. The normal tourist activities are closed and the world is in mourning. Icelandic Air does not work on Saturdays (ironic, especially after a terrorist attack), so we will wait until Monday to sort this out.
We may spend the week in DC, we may only do the Iceland flight (our flight is BWI – Reykjavik – Paris), or we may re-route to London. I did check our purchase info and we were smart enough to buy cancellation insurance. That $72 may have saved us.
I also strongly believe in fate. We had discussed going this week instead of next week when we booked the tickets this summer. We were not sure we wanted to miss Thanksgiving with our families, but ultimately decided to be there for my birthday on the 24th.
God has a plan for each of us and this tragedy has given me some perspective on life.
I have changed jobs in the past year to allow me to move and follow my gut. I quit one job only to freelance for them and for an entrepreneur in St. Louis. I then moved to Indy and was blessed to freelance remotely due to people that believed in me. I was immediately thrown into an interim public affairs director position for a crisis situation and found it to be extremely rewarding. Now I am re-evaluating what I want to do. I need purpose again.
In all of this, I have discovered who are my very best friends and have also had the difficult realization that not everyone is on your team. Insecure people often see kindness and success in others as intimidating. Some personalities will want to bring you down and you have to hold your head up and do what you believe to be right.
One of my colleagues emailed me this week and said that she hopes that when the time comes at the end of her life that people will say she made the world a better place. It really “all boils down to that, doesn’t it? That you were a good human being, not that you were great at your job or kept your affairs super organized or your house spotless. Just that you’re a good, kind person.” I could not agree more and for the record, she does make the world a better place. So, when my time is up, I hope my legacy is kindness.
My heart is breaking for Paris, but the good people far outweigh the bad. In twenty years, I hope that my kids ask me what it was like to live in such a chaotic (and sometimes terrifying ) world because it is foreign to them.
Hug your loved ones today and everyday.
Photos taken during my Paris trip – Summer 2009