Twenty years on from the tragic moments that characterised September eleven, and created an indelible mark on calendars across the world, we reflect on what, if possible, one can take away from the experience.

This morning I asked some of my best friends in our ‘Old Boys’ chat, “where were they and what were they doing”? Everyone’s memory is as vivid as the images of the event …

Mark had just left his office (half-day) and “skyped home to see the news and when I switched on, minutes later the second plane hit”.

Carlos was at the Upper Barracca “in Valletta having tea and toast, which didn’t go down well at all (translated from Maltese)”.

Chris was walking to my part-time job in Sliema, stopped in front of the old Forestals showroom to watch what was happening on the shop window TVs”.

Colin, my brother, “was walking down the street in Winchester (going to the pub) when I bumped into a couple of the rugby boys from Uni and they told me about it. Then went to the pub to watch the news (and have a drink). Was a very surreal day I remember”.

Graham was walking into the PwC lobby in Mriehel towards my desk”.

I was at my desk, in the PwC Europe office in Brussels, when a friend of mine Gayle, send an e-mail with a link to the CNN website covering the event. We were sent home within minutes as PwC had an office in the Twin Towers, to see the second plane crash into the towers on our home TV as I sat on the coffee table in the living room … still in full office attire, tie and all.

One of the most defining moments of our ‘modern’ era.

Six different lives, six different memories, one uniting moment.

As we all reflect on this notorious anniversary, there is one common denominator, “letting go of the small, futile things, and embrace boldly and beautifully”.

We endeavour to meet regularly, not just because we ‘like each other’, but because it matters and is important to us. We are all aware of the respective responsibilities we have in our separate lives, and acknowledge the responsibility of being a true, good, meaningful friend. So we put effort into making our calendars meet, to create quality moments we can reminisce on years down the line.

With events like September Eleven as a backdrop, we can still take important lessons from such a tragic affair. Our Emotional Intelligence allows us to understand how we eel about certain things, and what we should do to avoid these emotions taking over our actions (in a negative way), and transform these into positive ones.

On this anniversary, I and all at UP Your Level send out our deepest condolences to all those who lost loved ones during the events. We thank all those first, second and any responder who in thanklessly helping, also lost lives, colleagues, friends and relatives. And to all those who are still suffering from the impact the event, as difficult as it may be, use those emotions to focus on what is most important, most dear to you, and channel those emotions into positive, memorable moments.

At UP Your Level we support you and your team build emotional intelligence, and will soon be launching an introductory programme on emotional intelligence to follow from the comfort of your own home. For further information contact us on [email protected]. In the meantime, as they say in Panto, love, cherish and “be nice to each other”.

*Cover image rights:AARP.