Skip to content

Chicken Soup For The Soul

20 years ago, me and my fellow Stern MBAs gathered at Windows on The World restaurant to celebrate our annual Spring Gala. 5 months later, I was on a boat on the Hudson on a clear beautiful Tuesday morning, riding home past the huge plume of dust that used to be World Trade Center.

Chidi Afulezi
Chidi Afulezi
2 min read
Chicken Soup For The Soul
Photo by Farhad Ibrahimzade / Unsplash

This is a tough week.

20 years ago, members of my NYU Stern MBA2 class and the MBA1s gathered at Windows on The World restaurant to celebrate our annual Spring Gala. It was also our last big hurrah before the we walked the stage as newly minted MBAs a month later.

I recall the elevator ride up to the 107th (might have been the 106th) floor of the North Tower of World Trade Center. It was like you were going up into space, your head felt light and ears were popping as the elevator car sped up to the restaurant. The view was ridiculous and awe-inspiring...I swear I could see all the way to South New Jersey from Lower Manhattan. It was a wonderful night, I remember my classmates pulling everyone into a circle and dancing to Daft Punk's "One More Time". We ended the night with our football crazy South American and European classmates leading us in the "Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole" chant.

That was April 2001.

5 months later, I was on a boat on a clear skied, incredibly beautiful Tuesday morning riding past the fallen towers after a hellish morning and frantic hours of attempting to leave the island for my apartment across the Hudson in Jersey City. Don't ask me why I was underground on the PATH train to 34th Street when the first tower fell. Every single person on the boat stood rock silent as we slowly rode past, and stared at, the high and vast plume of dust that was now where the World Trade Center was standing just hours earlier.

At that moment, all I could think about was the people who worked at Windows on The World.

The book "Chicken Soup For The Soul" has always been good for a nice shot of spiritual ginger for reflection and inspiration. I hadn't cracked open my copy in a while, and I was elated when I recently received an email newsletter from James Clear where he shared this quote from the book:

Nadine Stair, an 85-year-old woman from Louisville, Kentucky, shares her answer when asked, "How would you have lived your life differently if you had a chance?"

"If I had my life to live over again, I’d dare to make more mistakes next time. I’d relax. I’d limber up. I’d be sillier than I’ve been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances, I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would, perhaps, have more actual troubles but fewer imaginary ones. You see, I’m one of those people who was sensible and sane, hour after hour, day after day.
Oh, I’ve had my moments. If I had to do it over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else—just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day.
I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot-water bottle, a raincoat, and a parachute. If I could do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.
If I had to live my life over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances, I would ride more merry-go-rounds, I would pick more daisies.

Twenty years from 9/11, and I appreciate Nadine's reminder that life is meant to be lived, and not from a blueprint that others demand you follow.

We no get time o. Do you, abeg.