The Way We Live: 15th August 2010 DEFINING MOMENTS

I’ve worked from home for the past ten years. What this means is that I’ve watched an unnatural amount of daytime TV (usually while avoiding calls from my editor). Several years ago I heard the world’s favourite bald Texan (that’d be Dr Phil not Britney Spears) say there are ten defining moments in your life. Moments –positive or negative – that have “changed the very core of who and what you thought you were”.

I immediately tried to work out exactly what my ten were.  I’m still wondering if not being allowed to audition for Young Talent Time counts as a defining moment.

Personally I think we have more then ten defining moments. I think life hands us moments all the time when we get to show who we really are.  Our true colours.  They are those moments when we must decide whether we will do the right thing, get involved, put our values into action. Or slink into the shadows, head down, pretending we didn’t notice.

Fifteen years ago I was on a packed peak-hour train when an older gentleman started to abuse a man of Asian heritage sitting near me.  The older bloke started ranting that “Asians were taking all our jobs” and were “ruining Australia”. He accused his target of not being a true Aussie and said he probably couldn’t even speak English. The Asian man just sat there, taking it.  And every other commuter in that carriage just sat there, eyes cast downwards, not wanting to get involved.

Me included. Until suddenly I found myself standing up and berating the older fellow. I can’t remember exactly what I said but I know I told him that unless he was of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent then he wasn’t an “original Aussie” either.  I think I ended my speech asking him to sit down and be quiet. Perhaps not quite that politely.

I remember I was shaking. And I remember that the older man immediately turned his venom on me.  I also remember that the train continued to remain silent.  Still I look back at that moment and know that I stood up for what I believed in. Sadly, I haven’t always done so. And when you turn a blind eye to wrongdoing, it can haunt you for a long time.

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About Bec

Over the past 25 years Rebecca Sparrow has earned a living as a travel writer, a television publicist, a marketing executive, a magazine editor, a TV scriptwriter, a radio producer, a newspaper columnist and as an author.

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