Friday, June 12, 2009

The Core

I was reading a post today at Nat's and it got me thinking about things that define you. Just getting through life is a challenge, and the decisions that we make each moment of each day come as a result of all our cumulative experiences.

Just talking to someone new involved filtering all their lifetime of experiences and joys and pains through your experiences and joys and pains to find some kind of common ground.

On the whole, I think that people are pretty resilient and understand that everyone goes through suffering and happiness - hopefully in relatively equal measure - even better if it's tipped a bit on the happiness side.

But aside from all the minute decisions about what to wear, to not buy a bag of M & M's, to say something positive rather than snarling - there are the big things. Big decisions, and big occurrences that are taken completely out of our hands. Life changing moments if you will.

If I had to consider which moments were those for me - the list would look something like the following:

1. My mother dying when I was 11.
2. Begging to leave private school to go to public because I was bullied so badly.
3. Having lost all four grandparents by the time I was 17.
4. Choosing to break up with my Ottawa boyfriend
5. Deciding that I didn't want to go to Graduate School - yet finishing up my honours degree/thesis anyhow.
6. Choosing my last job over the other job offered to me the same day.
7. Leaving my last job.

Those are the big ones. Seven major things in my life that I would say define me. Five out of the seven were choices. The other two? Traumatic events that colour my core.

For the most part, I think I've made some good decisions. But looking at them? I can see how so much of my entire life would be altered if I had chosen otherwise. Perhaps I would be in Ottawa with kids right now. Perhaps I never would have met some of my best friends from high school and University? Perhaps I would have more credentials and a completely different job?


The thing is, I didn't always know at the time that I was making a "defining" decision. How could I know at age 9 that leaving private school would still mean something at age 34? How could I know that choosing the one job would cause me therapy and crazy pills?

But it's what makes life interesting isn't it?

I'd be really curious to know about all your lists. Even just emailing me....


Jess said...

This is so interesting. Let me see if I can make a list:

1. Moving to North Carolina when I was four.
2. Attending a Quaker school for twelve years.
3. Attending Governor's School the summer after my junior year of high school--total life-changing event.
4. Going abroad to France for a year.
5. Dating, and then breaking up with, my high school boyfriend.
6. Going abroad to Senegal, and dating my boyfriend there.
7. Losing an internship in Chicago last-minute, then winding up in DC that summer, leading me to move there after college.
8. Picking one of two jobs that were offered to me after college.
9. Coming across Torsten's ad on Craigslist.
10. Moving to Denver.
11. Getting our dog.

OK, the list is long! I should write a post about this.

LeSombre said...

I'm thinking about stealing this. I guess it will depend how my list goes, but I have a feeling that there's some stuff on that list that I'm not ready to post on the Internet. Mmmm.

In either case, I'll email you. ;-)

MonsteRawr said...

Wow, you've certainly given me a lot to think about. Of my list, I think the most important one would be my drunken decision to go home with my TA in college; almost 2 years later, we were married. It was a bad, terrible decision to make, but I'm forever grateful that I was so stupid, because it's made me so happy. I guess sometimes the wrong decision can be the right one!

Kyla Roma said...

This is such an interesting one! I'd have to say this is mine:

1. My parents getting divorced when I was 6 years old
2. My parents having me negotiate and decide the custody agreement for my sister and I from when I was 7 - 12 years old.
3. Moving (within the province) 7 times in my childhood.
4. Watching two of my friends struggle with coke/crystal meth addiction in gr. 12
5. Falling in love with an amazing guy who became abusive, and getting the strength together to leave him.
6. Becoming totally financially independant
7. Meeting my husband & becoming part of his family.
8. Buying my first home & getting my dogs.

Anonymous said...

great post!

Nat said...

Not sure about define, certainly turning points... although it's entirely possible that it's what I said.

Let me ponder and get back to you. Thanks for the plug.

Princess of the Universe said...

Jess- Your list makes me feel like I should move around and travel more! :)

LeSombre- looking forward to reading your list!

Monster - you're the second person in like a week who's told me they married their TA- why didn't I do that in University???

Kyla- wow- you had to grow up pretty fast then didn't you??? xo

MDA- thank honey.

Nat- You had a couple of posts that really got me thinking about these...thanks for the inspiration!

Chief Rock Chef said...

You are right, we don't have warning signs popping up saying "Life changing choice ahead!" do we?

Personally, I don't dwell on what might have happened if I had said this or done that - you can spend your whole life doing that to no avail!

Things that define me?

1) My father's mental illness when I was growing up.

2) Meeting my wife.

3) Having children.

4) Deciding to stick with my current job instead of moving to Scotland when my mom did.

5) Losing my eldest daughter.

6) Taking up Blogging!

This was a great post, Princess!

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