Defining Moments

I have been lost in thought about life and how we come into who we will be. I find my thoughts drifting back to important moments in my life and wondering if those moments are where I made the decision to turn left or right or to plow ahead on a path that some might say destiny carved long before my birth.

I think back to important milestones in my life – the big memory moments. “I will never forget how I felt when…” For me, however, I am not sure those were the defining moments in my life. I think life turns on a dime, fueled by tiny moments scarcely seen and felt.

For example, I recall so well, like so many Americans, the day President Kennedy was shot or the day the Challenger exploded or the day the towers fell. I will always remember how time almost seemed to stand still. I certainly learned about myself and people and mankind from those moments but those were not the moments that shaped me.

Instead I remember discussions with my parents when I realized my thoughts sometimes varied greatly from theirs. I can remember cringing at words spoken by beloved family members and feeling resolute in my determination to believe differently.

I remember discovering even the holiest of men were judgmental and allowing that truth to poke tiny holes in my belief system allowing a different source of light to peek through.

I remember the feel of the earth under my bare feet and feeling grounded in my place in the world. The call to return home to these mountains never left me. While sense of place is different that the sense of being, I do wonder what transpires in a person’s life that steers them into making bad decisions, some that can end their lives prematurely.

I remember well discovering my sense of wonder at watching a “touch-me-not” explode in the palm of my hand or the way I could see the rain move over the mountain tops. As much as I loved the place where I grew up, I knew I could not find what I needed to make me whole unless I ventured elsewhere.

Were your defining moments big or small, or like a few people I know, do you not feel any sense of any particular moments that steered you in a particular direction? I would love for you to share your thoughts.

17 thoughts on “Defining Moments”

  1. This is a wonderful question for which I have no immediate specific answer. I’ve not pondered this but off the top of my head I tend to guess that my defining moments have been a combo of big and small events that for some reason resonated with me in a particular moment. [Probably clear as mud here.]

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    1. Ally, this is about as clear as my own thinking. I understand what you mean. Sometimes we take the big things in stride, but the little things cripple us. The path forward can sometimes have interesting twists and turns.

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  2. My later life has been structured by two very different events. Joining the London Ambulance Service as an EMT took me in a different direction, moving away from working for huge corporations, to trying to do some good for society in a difficult job that I did my best to do well. Then almost six years later, I was divorced from my first wife, and found myself alone and rather confused at the age of 33.
    That divorce was not my idea, but the repercussions of it have followed me through the decades since. The EMT job was my idea, and that left me with a sense of not only ‘doing the right thing’, but also some much-needed self-worth.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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    1. Pete, in talking with a friend last night, I thought her divorce was a defining moment for her, but when we drilled down, it was actually the marriage that changed her. I can only imagine how much working as an EMT would impact your life in so many ways. Looking back on my own life, though, I think I made mostly good decisions.

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  3. Mine were pretty insidious. Gradually shaping my life. But the death of my mom when I was 6, was a big moment, though I was too young to realize it at that time.

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    1. Sadje, that is such a young and tender age to lose your mother.I was 20 when my mother died, so not as young, but it was definitely one of the things that changed me. My heart goes out to your 6-year-old self. It had to be hard. ❤️

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      1. Thanks Maggie. The thing with losing someone important at young age that the extent of loss is not realized at that time so I didn’t grieve once. I felt the loss gradually over the next 15-20 years. Many thanks for your kindness.

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    1. We all have a mix of good moments and frightening moments that help shape us. Looking back it can be surprising all that we accomplished in the face of challenges that might cripple another person.


  4. I think choosing to do things for the right reasons rather than for any reward, whether financial or otherwise. Fortunately my life turned out pretty well despite, rather than due to, those decisions.

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