Thursday, August 6, 2009

30 years ago today

It’s so long ago, yet it seems like yesterday that I boarded an Air Morocco plane in Beirut headed for NYC. I remember seeing the flexing of the wings of the aging 707 on takeoff and saying to myself: I’m free. I’m finally leaving this hellhole.

Lanky teenager still wet behind the ears, I landed @JFK a couple of days later to a new world full of promises, possibilities and challenges. America wasn’t what I expected, it was better.

Yet, America of 1979 had lost its mojo: inflation, Iran hostages, and high crime left people feeling uneasy, lost and full of self-doubt. Nothing illustrates that malaise more than the graffiti declaring “America: Love it or Leave it” that sprung up everywhere.

Reagan came, and we returned to being a shining city on the hill. Three decades of prosperity followed, and yet, here we are once again mojo-less and adrift.

I would like to think of this as a simple correction, a slight step back on the ever-forward journey. But for the first time in my life, I’ve having doubts.

Maybe I'm just getting older.

To quote a famous song: “Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on…”

In the interim -- I'm hedging my bets.