Today is a beautiful sunny day in Hillsboro, Oregon, just west of Portland. I started the day watching my great-niece place soccer at the school across the street. Then I headed over to Hillsboro Stadium to watch my 11-year old grandson Andrew play football in what felt like scorching heat. My 4-year old granddaughter Hailey would be coming over later to spend the late afternoon and evening with us. A lovely, enjoyable late summer day.
It’s hard to believe that ten years ago today I flew to Boston to attend a week of management meetings at my company’s (Cadence Design Systems) offices in Chelmsford, Massachusetts.
Accustomed to fairly regular travel at that point in my life, this trip should have been a snap. Up in the morning to catch an early flight on Monday 9/10/11. Enjoy an evening to get settled for the week, then attend meetings Tuesday through Friday morning, and fly home Friday afternoon. However, when getting ready to leave home that morning, I had a strange and unsettled feeling that things weren’t going to be the same when I got back. In reality, this feeling had been with me for a few weeks. In late August of that year, I remember gazing out a window in our bedroom thinking, “something’s going to change soon, and I’ll look back and wish I could get back to this simple time.” This thought perplexed me, because I hardly thought of my life as simple at the time. But somehow I had a sense that I’d realize that the world “back then” was a kinder, gentler place.
Before I left my house for my flight, I kissed my husband good-bye. For the first time, saying good-bye before a business trip was difficult. I remember having tears in my eyes and having a nagging sense that I would miss our 20-year anniversary on September 19. This didn’t make any sense at all, since I was due to be home on September 14.
For the most part, my trip east was uneventful. There was, though, a point where the plane hit a bumpy space and had a slight drop. Nothing serious, but it caught my attention. I’m a pretty skittish flier, and anything other than smooth sailing gets my hackles up. I closed the book I was reading because I couldn’t concentrate through the bumps. I remember thinking gloomy thoughts, “there haven’t been any significant air disasters for quite a while. I wonder if, statistically speaking, it’s time for something horrible to happen.” These thoughts stayed with me until we landed. I never could get back to my book. I just couldn’t focus. In reality, it was about four years before I could focus on that book again.
Once safely on the ground, I got in my rental car and drove to my hotel. For the most part, I forgot about my concerns. I settled into my room and started preparing for my upcoming meetings. But for some reason, the minute I got my rental car, there was a brief moment when I quite literally wanted to pull over and kiss the ground.