Excerpted from a comment from John yesterday, Nov. 7th:
“Pondering the concept of defining moments reminded me of something I said to my sister about two years ago, an hour after she gave birth to her first child. Perhaps it was a newfound appreciation for life that drew my mind to such a profound, yet logical, thought, or maybe it was just that I was overwhelmed with emotion at the sight of my newborn niece, but I couldn’t help but think of what it must feel like for my sister.
“What does it feel like knowing that this is the most important moment of your life?” I asked. And while it was difficult to discern through the haze of pain medication she was on, just exactly what my sister was saying, I came to realize that I may never have a moment that would be this significant, while actually being cognizant of it, and I would likely have to settle for a retroactive awareness of my defining moments.”
That being said, if I were forced to think of the one true defining moment in my life, I would have to say it was one night about three years ago. I had just gotten home from my first job out of college, overcome with melancholy and drained from another monotonous and unfulfilling day. I had wandered down the same path as my father, except I wasn’t forced to take just any job to help support my sick parents, the way he was. In fact, part of the reason for his sacrifice was so I didn’t have to.
I realized something that day. I have a better life than anyone could ask for, and I need to do more with myself than just collect a paycheck every week. I wanted to do something with my life that is going to help people, something that is going to have an effect on other peoples’ lives. So I decided to go back to school, with the hopes of becoming a college professor.”
This post (read in entirety under yesterday’s comments) highlights an important distinction, I think, about defining moments. John notes the significance and importance of his sister’s experience in giving birth. But of course unless we ask her we don’t know if she would call it a defining moment. Though as a mother myself I can’t imagine any woman not seeing it that way.
Geez, Psychscribe here is feeling guilty that she didn’t mention her children’s births as defining moments. If you are reading this, my dear son and daughter, I want you to know that I chose my school dream as my earliest defining moment because that was the beginning of my empowerment as woman…of expanding and choosing my definition of myself in addition to wife and mother. Something that would be difficult for you to understand now, knowing me for the strong woman I have become. But back then, before I went to school, I felt weak, and passive, and was unaware that I could choose my own identity.
But back to John….what emerges very sweetly to me here is his defining moment as an uncle, in addition to the melancholy night he identifies when he decided to go back to school. So I see two snapshots here.
John also mentions that most of the time we don’t recognize our defining moments until later, retroactively. Thus my suggested metaphor to review your life as if it were a movie to find them. But then again, not always. Sometimes we know right when they happen. We get a wow! I will never be the same after this! See the next post:
Hi, I’m a adolescent counselor. I recognized that I was going to be one when I was sitting in my car one afternoon after classes (during undergrad.) I had been contemplating what was going to happen next and what God wanted me to do. I felt called to a Christian sort of enviornment but wasn’t sure what that meant. I was always interested in psychology and helping people. I was sitting there praying and it just hit me, counseling teens, that’s what I wanted to do. The rest is history.
So think about it …if you will …and tell me, what was yours?