I have just completed a Lost marathon in order to finish season 3. One part I found particularly powerful was Charlie writing his list of top moments in his life. He inspired me to do the same.
Establishing an ordered list of the top moments in your life is surprisingly hard to do. I have been fortunate enough to have some wonderful times and as result there are all kinds of different highlights fighting for a position. However, this is what I came up with…
#5: Being a dot com billionaire for 3 days
Sneaking in at number five is the few days I got to feel like a dot com billionaire. Back at the height of the dot com boom I was working for a web company that was in the process of being floated on the NASDAQ. The managing director of the company was flying backwards and forwards to the states preparing for the IPO and presenting to potential investors. On one of these trips he decided to take me. It was a 3 day trip covering Miami, New York and Atlanta, so it was a fairly grueling schedule. However it was my first trip to the states and so all very exciting to me.
Those 3 days were like stepping into a different world. We flew first class and were treated like royalty by the “business guys” handling the floatation. We rode in stretched limos, stayed in five star hotels and ate in restaurants where other people queued around the block to get in.
However, the most memorable moment of all was sitting in a restaurant with an investor and his girlfriend (who happened to be the body double for Cameron Diaz – the real one not the fake). The investor turns to me and states very matter of factly that I would be a millionaire by the end of the year.
Although, I knew better than to believe the hype it was still nice to spend those 3 days in a fantasy world.
#4: Winning the first job at Headscape
As anybody who has done it will know, setting up your own business is a strange experience. It is both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. I am a cautious person and so the risks involved in setting up my own business seemed overwhelming at times. However, in the middle of all that fear and trepidation came a moment of pure joy, the moment I saw our first contract.
It sounds like a funny thing to have in my top 5 list but it represented so much to me. I hated my previous job which had somehow descended into me being a hatchet man who did nothing but fire people. To get that first contract meant the beginning of something new, it felt as if I was being set free.
To this day I have that contract pinned to my wall.
#3: Seeing the grand canyon
Having a child is a tough time and we found the year following James birth particularly difficult. We longed for something exciting to look forward to and so we planned our dream holiday. 2 weeks in Florida relaxing and another 2 weeks road trip through California, Las Vegas and finally the Grand Canyon.
Unfortunately our trip started off as more of a nightmare than a dream. While in Florida James became very sick and ended up being submitted to hospital. It was a horrendous experience that still haunts me to this day. We felt trapped in a foreign country and even though we shared a language the cultural differences seemed huge.
Fortunately, James did get better and we continued with the rest of the holiday. However, by that stage we were tired and our expectations were low. We just wanted to get the holiday over with and go home.
We also had no expectations whatsoever of the Grand Canyon. I kept joking that it would just be a “hole in the ground” and that Americans always claim to be bigger and better.
We arrived at sunset and were walking through a tree line until suddenly we found ourselves at the edge. No warning, no preparation, just suddenly there it was.
In that moment all of the hardship of the trip had been worth it. I was in awe of what I was seeing. As I have said before I am a Christian and the beauty of Gods creation was a spiritual moment for me. I cannot express how overwhelming it was.
I will truly never forget that sight.
#2: Making eye contact with my son for the first time
I have already said that the first year of James life was very difficult for us. I think partly this was due to the very difficult circumstances of his birth. The labour was very traumatic and there were times that it was a close run thing.
I don’t know what my expectations were of the moment of his birth but the reality was a complete surprise to me. By the end of the labour I had very little sympathy left for my son and felt almost angry and resentful. However, what really surprised me was the moment James was handed to Cath. I expected a wrinkled, screaming thing, but what I got was a tiny human being. What shocked me even more is that I swear he looked up at Cath and then fixed his eyes on me. We looked at each other for a moment and I knew that both him and Cath were now all that mattered in my life. I know babies are not supposed to see much when they are first born but I choose to believe that myself and my son made a connection in that moment that will never be broken.
#1: My wife walking down the aisle
There are some amazing moments in this list. Life changing moments, moments that have defined who I am and how I see the world, but nothing will ever compare to that moment when my wife walked down the aisle and agreed to marry me.
I don’t want to labour the point about my faith but I cannot talk about that moment without saying what a spiritual experience it was. It felt like the whole of heaven was watching that service. I take marriage very seriously and it was a huge step for me and yet on that day I realized the love inside my heart for Cath was more than mine alone. I knew it would never change and never fail. I knew that God and all of Heaven would help me to love this woman for the rest of my life, no matter how she changed or I changed.
She was glorious that day, filled with such joy and child like excitement. Although we have both changed over the years, not once has my love for her been any different from what it was on that day and I am sure it never will be.
She filled my vision as I saw her walk down the aisle and she fills my vision still.
I make no apologizes for the sappiness of this post. I think it is important to remember the significant moments in life. By remembering what brought you joy also enables you to focus on what is important. I guess this is another thing I have learnt from “Getting Things Done.
But what about you? What are your top 5 moments?