It’s a big question… what is the meaning of life? What makes me genuinely happy – a happiness that flows effervescently from within me?
Just because someone is good at their work doesn’t necessarily mean they love it. And money certainly isn’t everything. When it comes to it, it’s the people you meet along your journey of life that matter the most. Family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances…. special people that touch your heart in ways you least expect.
And yet, sometimes it’s hard to discover what’s important. Life is about experiences, friendship and love. And sometimes its unexpected experiences that really shape your life. Like Boston.
A tragic day
It’s taken a bit of time before I was ready to share this experience, filled with pure emotion.
April 15th, 2013 is a day most Bostonians will never forget. Patriot’s Day, to mark the Anniversary of the 1775 Battles of Lexington and Concord; and the day of the Boston Marathon.
That afternoon, sitting in the park having eaten a late lunch, I was truly world watching. My feet were tired having walked just 5km in heeled boots. I was feeling completely indulgent in my decision to sit and watch, rather than walk the remaining three blocks to the finish line. And so I sat and watched the runners wrapped in their thermal blankets after they’d finished the run, walking proudly with family, friends and supporters though Boston Common. The elation on their faces, the achievement, the numerous photos in the park, testament to their achievement that they’d conquered 42km of Boston roads.
Sadly, there were another 5,700 runners that never had the chance to realise their dreams. The tragedy that struck the finish line, people’s lives ripped apart by two bombs exploding just before 3pm. 264 people injured; 3 people tragically lost their lives.
A decision to rest, to people watch, was unknowingly one of the best decisions I could have made. That decision kept me safe, yet in a state of confusion as awareness of the tragedy was realised.
People’s pace quickened, their faces filled with anguish; in a moment of panic, I stopped a couple with tears on their faces…. and in that moment, I have never felt so alone. To be in a city with no family and no friends was a truly hollow feeling. I was a scared rabbit in the headlights; a small fish in a huge ocean; trapped and stranded at the hotel as the city’s transport network came to a grinding halt.
I can only thank the hotel doorman at the Hyatt Regency, Boston, for his concerted efforts and commitment to ensuring my safe travel to the airport by a much waited for taxi. And, to the two runners that shared that taxi ride with me; a ride that passed in a blur of tightly held back tears. Their joy at completing the marathon darkly overshadowed by an unexpected event that will forever hold a dark cloud over that day. But, at least they were going home. Home to loved ones. Home had never felt so far away…
How quickly life can change… Some things in life are so important… to tell someone you love them… to smile… to hug… and to spend your life doing things you truly love.