Absolute Lessons for Life: According to Melanie Reid

A year on from a horrific accident, the Times columnist, Melanie Reid, features as the cover story in yesterday’s The Times Magazine – reflecting on her progress and the people she’s indebted to as she finally left the spinal injury unit in Glasgow.

As well as her picture on the front cover, Melanie features in three pictures in the inside, five-page spread. She is now home with her husband, Dave, after a year in hospital, and setting out on what she describes as “Phase Two“ of her new life.

The columnist, commentator and reporter for the Scottish edition of The Times was paralysed after breaking her neck and back in a fall from a horse 12 months ago,

In yesterday's feature, Melanie, who is still dependent on a wheelchair, relates that she has learned three absolute lessons, and here we quote two of them. She says: “First, that the world is split into people who moan and people who don’t. I have heard enough moaning in the past 12 months to last me a lifetime.

“In this regard, I refuse, ever again, to spend time with anyone who complains continually about the weather, their job, their relationship or their appearance. These people are death to the soul; they suck the oxygen out of the air; they need to be avoided at all costs. Like it doesn’t say in Desiderata, avoid people too stupid to appreciate what they’ve got. Like loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

“Second, I learnt that those who have the least to give often give the most. Among some of the poorest patients, and some of the lowest paid NHS workers, I experienced an astounding generosity of spirit. Some people may only earn the minimum wage, but they have real class and soar above all others – it’s as simple as that.”

Last week, she finished a runner-up to fellow Times columnist, Matthew Parris, at the UK Press Awards, in the Columnist of the Year category. She will be continuing to write her weekly ‘Spinal Column’ for The Times Magazine each Saturday.