There are pivotal, game-changing moments in every person’s life — the Greeks called them ‘kairos moments’. For some those moments are so significant that they immediately fracture that life, ripping it forever into two parts — everything before that moment, and everything that came after.
My kairos moment occurred just after 3 pm on 3 October 2006. The day had started normally enough. I woke up early as usual, assisted by my eldest daughter Emelia, who was three and a half at the time. As the house stirred into life Milly (as we affectionately call her) left my wife, Kate, and me and went to wake up her little sister, Ebony, who was just 15 months old. The girls watched some cartoons as Kate prepared their breakfast and I got ready for work. It has been a Cawthorn family tradition that we all sit down at the table together, eat our breakfast and discuss our plans for the day. After breakfast the girls and I put on some loud music and danced around the living room. I would throw each one up in the air and catch her as she squealed and giggled with delight. I thought to myself how lucky I was and what a great way it was to start the day.
At the time I was working as an industry adviser to young people’s trends and careers, like a youth futurist, an initiative funded by the Australian Federal Government. I’d been in the job only a few months but I loved it. I was 26 years old; I had a big job, good salary and great company car, plus I had a huge amount of freedom to work ...