I’m teary this weekend. It’s hard to watch the news because my mind pivots to the many clients who spoke of their losses the days, months, and years post-9/11. As we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, those of us who remember can clearly recall the exact circumstances when we witnessed or heard of the attacks. I am one of the fortunate who worked downtown, but I had taken the day off to attend a seminar. I never worked in the World Trade Center, but our social service center had a direct view. …


I remember when I was in my 20s I took a self-help seminar. I was doing a team activity, and I really didn’t like one of the members. She was inappropriately rude, saying things like, “I can feel your anger. Your jaw clenches. It’s not pretty. Why don’t you just let it go?” Though it enraged me that she would say such a thing, only adding to my ire, I thought I was supposed to become more tolerant of others. …


Sweet Sixteen. It doesn’t feel so sweet these days. I remember when I was turning sixteen, I yearned to have a fancy party as many of my friends were having that year. We couldn’t afford an expensive affair, so I begged and cajoled my parents into allowing me to have a house party. My mother did not enjoy entertaining, nor did she feel comfortable in having a good number of adolescents in her home. I didn’t realize at the time what a gift she was giving me just by saying yes.


I shifted my routine earlier this week to catch the sunrise. Typically I relish the space between sleep and daytime. The sweet spot of the morning. Following those moments I shift into meditation, then move on from there with coffee and the rest of the day. As soon as I awoke I brushed my teeth and ran to the East River to get a glimpse of the sunrise.


I’m in my congested closet trying to decide which of the various, multi-colored pocketbooks and bags I’m going to let go. I tend to rely on the same two or three, but I love to choose from the others on special occasions. Of course, there have been few special occasions in the past year or so. Nonetheless I had the privilege of attending a joyous outdoor event last night, and though no one else would care, I was so happy to sport the perfect small, blue bag for the evening.


When I was in the fifth grade, our teacher, Mrs. Hannah, introduced the idea for a swap lunch. The concept was that mothers (it was 1970) were to create a brown bag lunch, and they would be swapped for a lunch with another student. We picked names out of a hat. As there was an odd number of children in the class, Mrs. Hannah was going to provide a lunch as well. I can’t remember who was the recipient of my mother’s lunch. But I do recall being mortified. It included a tuna salad sandwich on Pepperidge Farm white bread…


I still remember my summers visiting friends and family at the Jersey Shore. This was well before Atlantic City was burdened with casinos. These were the days of shows at the Steel Pier and fragrant strolls on the boardwalk with Mr. Peanut greeting us on our way to James for salt water taffy. Those were the lazy summer days I enjoyed in my former years.


This morning was clear and cool enough for summer. My knee wasn’t hurting and I could take a slow run by the East River. Ah, a moment of little pain. A small yet welcomed gift when my days are full. Not only could I run after a week of limited walking, but I could enjoy an empty promenade with friendly passers-by. That all added up to a great start to the day.


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When I was a child our family would pack into our Ford station-wagon and head out to Pennypacker Park to watch the fireworks. We played in the playground or chased fireflies until the moment when it became dark. Then the night would light up and we cheered with delight as we gazed skyward. It felt magical to enjoy a hot night of colorful pyrotechnics. The crack, pop and whiz of the fireworks foretold if we’d be seeing a Roman Candle or a burst of high-definition pink chrysanthemum. My favorite was the waterfall, cascading sparkles in the sky.


Happy Pride Day. Today our trans son is celebrating. 24 years ago we unwittingly scheduled our wedding on Pride Day. Some friends fittingly missed our straight wedding to celebrate their identity while they marched for their rights. Others gay friends were generous to give up their place in the parade to witness our wedding. And everyone had to deal with the traffic that was rerouted to accommodate the crowds and the parade. Larry and I realized then the privilege we enjoyed by being able to get married in 1997.

Janet Zinn

NYC Psychotherapist, writer, wife, mother, & more...

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