posted on Sep, 2 2011 @ 08:18 AM
Interesting timing. I was having this conversation with a bunch of friends down at the corner izakaya a couple of nights ago. As background, I've
been here quite a while, about a decade in the same town, and my friends that I'll tell you about are just regular working stiffs. 30 at the
youngest, and the older guys are retired.
The common thread for all of us was this: we all made it through without injury or loss of property. But we all lost friends and colleagues. We all
have friends who had damage to property, ranging from a few feet of water in the living room to complete loss of home and or business. And we've all
had our livelihoods impacted.
It wasn't until Obon or so that any of us were able to really sit back with a bit of distance and reflect on it all. I'd say we've all made some
very out of the ordinary life decisions triggered by the experience. Some of us quit drinking, others started. Some started subconsciously selling
possessions and giving up luxuries. I found myself a lot more active in my community, but others had the opposite reaction and have become withdrawn.
Two quit their jobs in July for reasons that seem a bit of an overreaction now, and there have been a few people leave my company in the past couple
of months in the same condition. One friend is engaged, one's wife has one in the oven, one's into divorce proceedings.
It hit me at the time that we're all exhibiting the stress symptoms that usually accompany a bereavement. And that came as a bit of a shock, because
it had never really occurred to any of us that we actually had. I mean, we know we had, obviously, but so has everyone else, so it's not supposed to
be the same, is it? It's not fair, walking around feeling bad when everyone else is in the same boat.
Maybe it's a guy thing. Do the job that's in front of you, stiff upper lip and all that. Ganbatte.
I can't complain because my family is alive and I still have all my stuff. And my friends who lost their stuff can't complain, because other people
lost their homes. And they can't complain either, because they've still got some of their family. And so on and so on.
So, yeah. If you ask me in 10 years, I'll have the benefit of hindsight to pinpoint how it's affected me. For now, like a lot of people, I'll
freely admit to carrying around a suppressed ball of grief and anger and shock and a whole bunch of other things, and I'll freely admit that it's
unhealthy to do so.
But it's oddly comforting knowing that I'm surrounded by people feeling the exact same thing.