It amazes me how often we repeat the same mistakes.


    Spending doesn't work; we spend more.


    One party gets arrogant with power; the next party comes in and gets even more arrogant with power.


    Washington builds a mousetrap to police all those corporate rats; along come just smarter corporate rats.


    Such is life. Such is us. Where hope might spring eternal, but our memory does not.


    So we let down our guard and relinquish our resolve and that which once absorbed us, is soon forgotten by us.


    The stuff that made us rise above the petty day-to-day, eventually succumbs to the day-to-day.


    And suddenly we're back to fretting about paychecks that aren't there and not appreciating precious life that is. Fighting with the co-workers who don't seem to get us, instead of not once thinking they might not be that much longer with us or we with them.


    Nine years ago this very night, we went to bed obsessing about things that in the scheme of things were just things. Weighty things, worrisome things, damn bothersome things -- but things, just things.


    Nine years ago this night, we were going day to day -- very few, I suspect, thinking the end of days.


    There were kids to get to school and hellish commutes to get to work. Fights to watch in Washington; a recession to fear everywhere.


    Ring a bell? Same deal then, same deal now. Forgetting it's only here for now... then it isn't. And in an instant, everything changes.


    Nine years ago this night I guess we weren't so deep. We were too busy. Until not too many hours later, we weren't too busy. Not too busy to put life in perspective and all those to-do lists on the shelf.


    Until we started making a different list. Then it was more about being good, than having goods. Doing good than pushing goods.


    It's as if in a moment we realized there's not much to having money in a wallet if you have nothing beating in your heart; not much to financial freedom if you have no freedom. That living for dough matters little if you're done -- gone, finished, over.


    Nine years ago this very night, going to sleep we didn't see it. The next day we vowed we'd never forget it.


    Until we did.


    That was then. This is now.


    Lesson learned. Lesson forgotten.