My grandson Hamish was born a week after 9/11. On 9/11, the day my daughter was due to give birth, my wife was in Perth with my daughter and I was home in Adelaide with a flight booked to fly to Perth on the 13th. My wife and I spoke on 9/11 about what kind of a world was our first grandchild likely to grow up in?
On the day of my scheduled flight, the airline Ansett, then an iconic company, closed its doors and not able to get a flight on another airline I drove to Perth, a 36 hour drive. What occupied my mind for much of that trip was the question, what is the purpose of my life?
I couldn’t even begin (still can’t) to imagine the horror for those who died in the World Trade Center and the devastation for their families, yet it inspired me to think deeply about my own life, and how I could do more to make a difference in the world. The long drive to Perth was full of defining moments for me where I made decisions that still drive my life and my work. One of the decisions I made was to dramatically increase my work internationally.
In 2005 my wife and I were in London partly due to my work and partly for holidays. We traveled on the Tube the day after the terroist attack on that rail system. You could feel the fear and yet also the resolve of travellers to not be beaten by people who commit terroist acts. This experience was another defining moment for me in my life.
What have been your life’s defining moments? I have had many, some big like those events mentioned above and some small yet significant moments that inspired me to change what’s normal about my life.
Big and small, what have been the lessons of the defining moments of your life? And how are you living your lessons today?
Soon I will have a moment of silence to remember those who have lost their lives in terroist acts and for the thousands affected who remain alive, and yet I will leave my silence with a resolve as strong as ever to be the difference I want to see in the world.
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