Has something ever happened in your life which made you stop and think? Made you promise to yourself that you would never again take anything for granted?
It happened to me back in 2005. My heart got broken you see and the only way I could help it to heal was to take some time out and get to know me again. I needed a challenge, I needed to regain my self confidence and I needed to believe in happiness again. So I took a sabbatical from work and took myself off around the world. The first stop was Nepal and to be honest, from there I didn't need to travel anymore, I found everything I was looking for in an orphanage full of the most amazing children I have ever met.
The children had nothing to call their own other than the clothes on their backs but they still greeted me every morning with a huge smile ready to face the day. They had no toys, no games, no books, none of life's little luxuries. I remember that they were all fascinated by my CD Walkman, squabbling over who would listen to it first. They'd never seen anything like it before. To me it was just something to ease the boredom during long journeys.
Perhaps the most humbling moment for me though was when Gita a beautiful little girl found a small packet of biscuits on the way home from school. Most children I know would have wolfed them down, perhaps not giving a second thought to sharing them. Not Gita. There were 15 children in that orphanage and I watched in amazement as she divided the biscuits equally between all of them giving herself just crumbs and making sure the younger children got enough. My heart went out to each and every one of them that day, and although in theory I was there to teach them, I don't think they realised how much they taught me.
When I left I cried but I made a promise to myself that I would never ever take anything for granted again. It surprises me now when I look back how quickly something which had been so life changing began to slip to the back of my mind. The promises I had made were quickly forgotten as I settled back into the daily grind. Just now I was on the Internet, looking for even more presents to buy for Little Legs. Then I took a moment to think. I shut down the shopping pages and began writing this post. This post is part of that moment and I'll read it every time I need reminding of what life is really about.
The Mighty Dead Adam Nicolson
2 hours ago