Pivotal Moments

We’ve all had them – usually at least one if not more. They are the moments that change our lives, literally. There are several we will all have in common, like being born (Obviously), asking someone to marry us – even if they say no, we asked. That’s a life changing moment because your life and relationship with that person will never be the same again -, having a child, retiring from work, even understanding we are mortal can be a pivotal moment.

For me a pivotal moment is one that changes the future from what is likely to something completely different. I left my home country to move to another, and the decision to actually do it was a big pivotal moment for me. My life changed the day I got my passport back with ?he visa stamped in it, and I looked in the mirror and said “OK, I guess we are going to do this”. My life changed the day I asked my wife to marry me. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here in this country today.

Part of what’s interesting about pivotal moments is that often they pass us by without us even realizing what they are. I remember the day I first sat down at a computer. I only did it because there was a box of mars bars at stake. I had no idea that would change what I chose to spend a good deal of my life doing. It took years until I got my first paycheck from working on a program that I began to have an inkling of what a pivotal moment that had actually been.

Something else I find interesting about other people’s stories about pivotal moments is how different people view them. Some have moments they are proud of because they made them happen. They decided they were going to make an event happen that would change their lives. Others have pivotal moments that are almost accidents. “I happened to have my manuscript on me when I met the friend of a friend who was a literary agent.”.

How do you define a pivotal moment? One that changes the course of a life is the simplest. Of course it could be argued that every moment does that, and to an extent that’s true, but I think most people would know what I’m talking about. A moment where nothing is the same anymore, when your foreseeable life suddenly takes a new turn. Like looking into the eyes of your child for the first time, or realizing that no matter what you do, you’ll never be 110 pounds again.

Not all pivotal moments are good of course – in fact the bad ones are far easier to spot since we all love examining our lives looking for blame. How many pivotal moments can you count from your life? Really pivotal ones? If you can count more than 10 then I think it’s safe to say you are using the wrong criteria. See what matters to you. It’s quite an interesting exercise.

I found that once I did this, I found it explained some of who I am and what I want out of life.

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