Defining Moments

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!

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12 thoughts on “Defining Moments

  1. I haven’t ever articulated it this way but I am aware of my defining moments. I lived way too much life BC – in those 31 years I travelled, suffered tragedy and trauma, studied endlessly, moved a lot, had many different jobs… The 8 years post-kids seem to move at lightening speed though!

    • It definitely seems time moves faster once kids come along. I suppose it’s because you no longer have the luxury of having so much time to yourself? Traveling, studying, switching jobs all sounds very exciting. It’s interesting to see the different things that excite you BC and how they differ AC!

  2. Being defined as “just a mother” is a label that I struggle with because it is such a monumentally huge task that is so undervalued. But I’m not the first person to realise this and probably won’t be the last. Looking back on defining moments can help mothers see “me” again… and I think that can be very therapeutic. Great post.

    • It is good to remember who you are and where you have come from, what you’ve accomplished. A very dear friend of mine says she always tries to remember that she is Melanie first and foremost, before she is “mum”. Which isn’t to say the kids needs to and should come first but it’s ok (and maybe even important?) not to lose yourself in those things. Yes, parenting, being a mother, is the most important role a woman can have, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of still being a woman and having needs. I could rant and rave about this topic for hours.

  3. I totally get this. And I love what you said about parenting. Like it’s like you have spent your whole life waiting for this point. I feel like that to a degree too.

    I loved this post! Glad you finally published it. 🙂

    • Thanks Jess, me too! It has taken on a few different forms to get to this point though! And I omitted a couple of big defining moments that I haven’t been willing or brave enough to share. Wonder if I will get to the point of being able to share them?! I think no one can know how big a deal being a parent is until you are one, and until you are, it’s like you walk around with the lights off, not knowing how good life can be with them on!

  4. Wow, you have me thinking about my defining moments, although it’s probably not healthy for me to do that at the moment as I am trying to let go of past hurts. Perhaps when they are not so raw I will be able to.

    • If I’m being honest, I left out a couple of more hurtful defining moments. Not sure why, just don’t want to share, or not ready to “own” them yet maybe? Those moments are probably the ones that define us more than any other. Maybe facing them and acknowledging them will help to let them go? *hugs* for you.

  5. Your post has given me pause for thought.

    I agree with your overseas experiences. Mine were much the same. I went back to England for several years without my immediate family and I really grew into a much stronger person during that time. When I came back, I quickly moved into the long relationship with children phase of my life.

    It’s good to finally be settled.

    • Agreed! it is good to be settled. But there are times I long for my yesteryear, to do some things over again, some the same, some differently!

    • Yes traveling definitely broadens your horizons and most of all makes you appreciate how good you have it at home! It’s a shame more people never get the opportunity (or never TAKE the opportunity) to see more of the world

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