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An almost loss

| Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Kerry Schneeman | The Observer

I was less than two months old when this nation lost countless lives following the tragic events of 9/11. I cannot personally attest to the magnitude of this specific cataclysm, but I think we can all agree that this speaks volumes about how little control we have over our individual lives. I have so little control over what affects me and how it does; that definitely does not sit well with a perfectionist like me characterized by high functioning anxiety. 

This past weekend, my social media feed was dominated by 9/11 related content. Some were recalling the trauma, others were remembering the heroes they lost that day. Among all these posts, the few that really stood out to me all had one thing in common which I labeled “an almost loss.” If it weren’t for one insignificant event, these people either almost died or almost lost someone during 9/11. Wanna know what these insignificant events all had in common? 

They can happen to anyone at any moment. They must be great then right? Well not exactly … When they happen to any of us we almost always scoff in anger or sigh in disbelief. These events stress us out. They make many of us mad. They make us feel like the unluckiest people in the world. 

This is exactly why I decided to write this column. I want you to realize that one person made it that day because their alarm didn’t go off. One person made it because their favorite coffee shop was unusually busy. One person made it because their car wouldn’t start. One person made it because their kid wouldn’t stop crying at kindergarten drop off. One person made it because it was their turn to bring donuts into the office. One person made it because they were stuck in traffic. I could go on and on with all these testimonies that I gathered from the Instagram posts, the TikToks, the tweets, the blogs etc. that mentioned “an almost loss.” All this is to say that something good can really come out of any minor inconvenience we experience. Maybe these inconveniences, that so often turn our mood foul, are just the universe’s way of telling us that we are right where we’re meant to be. 

9/11 might not have hit too close to home for me, but something else did: the August 4 Beirut Blast. I was just wrapping up an amazing summer of family, friendship and adventure. I was at home packing my bags for my flight which was scheduled later that night. My father said he needs to drive over to his office (which is only a couple blocks away from where the blast hit the hardest.) I picked a fight with him. I honestly can’t even remember what it was about or why I was so adamant about resolving it before he went anywhere. He kept saying he was in a rush. Five minutes later we hear the blast loud and clear. I hugged my father real tight that night. 

They say grief teaches you the hardest lessons to learn. “An Almost Loss” teaches you just as much. It teaches how to hold on to the people that make you feel alive, to the ones that make you feel loved. It teaches you how to be thankful for the time you’re given. It teaches you to replace frustration, anger and anxiety with gratitude, love and forgiveness. 

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at my everyday disturbances the same way I did in the past. I am human so yes, I will feel frustrated or anxious or stressed. But at the very least after a few seconds (maybe minutes?) of cursing I will pick up my phone and inevitably see my lock screen: my favorite picture I took of my father. I will sigh in relief as I remind myself to be patient and practice some gratitude despite the crappy day I am having. I will look at that picture and remind myself of this column I wrote. I’ll remember this because my father was my almost loss …

Krista Akiki is a junior living in McGlinn Hall, majoring in business analytics and minoring in computing and digital technologies. She grew up in Beirut, Lebanon and moved back to the U.S. to pursue her undergraduate degree. She loves learning new languages, traveling and of course trying new foods. She craves adventure and new experiences and hopes to share these with readers through her writing. She can be reached at [email protected] or @kristalourdesakiki via Twitter.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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