The Nerd Hut has a post from a while ago about transformation, and the “before” and “after” that comes with it, that got me thinking. Not necessarily about city transformation as he talks about it, but more the personal side of it to which he relates. We all have transformative moments, defining moments if you will, in our lives. Moments and experiences that are etched in our memories, for better or worse, that hopefully made us grow, learn, maybe changed our view of the world or ourselves.
Here are my defining moments that stick out most in my mind:
- my parents divorce (I was probably 12 by the time they broke up, got back together, and broke up again, for good)
- moving to the US for school in Florida (18)
- moving to Atlanta for work after graduation (21)
- September 11, 2001 (23)
- meeting and marrying my husband (27)
- moving back to Australia (28)
- giving birth to my amazing son (29)
- my dad passing away (32)
That’s an easy eight. Eight moments etched in my memory, for better or worse, that have affected me and shaped the person I am today. Events that left scars, or made me independent, or opened my mind and broadened my horizons. Events that made me cynical and scared. Events that were nothing like I’d ever imagined they’d be, or ever imagined I’d go through.
I feel like my biggest transformations have come when I’ve moved countries. Moving to the States forced me to think for myself, do for myself, make my own decisions, and manage without my family nearby. Moving back to Australia forced me to manage with family nearby. I had been gone for 11 years, and you know what they say about going home. It was just as challenging to come back to a familiar environment with friends and family so close for the first time in years, as it was to start over, on my own, where I knew no one.
My life in Australia feels like a completely different life to the one in the US. My years in the US seem like they were another lifetime, or perhaps a dream, and the only proof it ever was real are the American friends I have on Facebook. I barely recognise the person in pictures from that time. We always think we are so wise and mature, but it’s not until we get older and go through more experiences that we realise how young and naive we really were. I suppose that much is true until our last day.
My time in the States was also “BC”….Before Children. Don’t you find, as a parent, anything you did before you took on that role is almost….invalid? Like it was just what you were doing while you were biding your time, waiting for THIS TIME in your life. Because what will we ever do that is more important than being a good parent and raising good children? I don’t say that to invalidate people who don’t want/don’t have children. But for me, without a doubt, being a parent is the most rewarding, challenging, frustrating, joyous, confusing role I have ever had. But you don’t ever stop being a parent. You can be a college student, you can work at one place for 10 years, you can be in different relationships. Those times all start and end, parenting never does. I don’t want to be defined as “just” a mother, but it’s hard not to be defined by something you will spend more than half your life doing and being.
I don’t know what my next defining moment will be. Perhaps these fertility struggles is it? It is certainly changing me, my thoughts, my ideas. It is challenging me to be positive, to put things in perspective and to re-evaluate what it is I really want and what I am willing to do to get that.
Have you ever thought about your defining moments? What would they be?
Hooking up with Jess for IBOT!