A Sobering Perspective

Like many people, today, September 11th, 2011 is a day of reflection on the events in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania ten years ago. As I watched the Memorial services, I was struck by the ages of the victims; most were young.

Afterwards I looked at the list of victims, their photographs, their home towns and their ages. Of all the victims of the 9/11 attacks, fully 84% were younger than 51 years of age. Indeed of all the casualties that day, 2,014 or 67% had not yet reached their 45th birthdays; 52% or 1,517 had not seen their 40th birthdays.

As a coach people on work and life issues, I frequently remind each person that life is very short; sometimes, it is far shorter than we might ever imagine. One should not, I believe, obsess over one’s mortality; but I also believe it is important that we do not sleep-walk our way through our life, thinking “I’ll get to that when I have a chance” or “someday I’ll do that.”