While doing revisions on a manuscript recently, I got to thinking about my turning points. Of course I wanted them to be significant, and to propel the characters, preferably kicking and screaming, into the next act of the story. Then I began to focus on major turning points, because all turning points are not major. That got me to thinking, what about those major turning points in my own life? What about in yours? Are there moments in your journey through life that you recognize as having been major turning points? They could be emotional, physical, or historical.
I can remember three:
The first one was President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. I was at home, in Australia, just a young girl, still in high school. I heard it on the radio and went to awaken my parents. My dad was stunned. I’d been known to make up stories, and at first he didn’t believe me. To me it was unthinkable. If a President, with his bodyguards and his entourage, could be killed in cold blood like that…what about me? I was acutely aware of how fleeting life could be.
The second time was my divorce. I was shocked about my husband’s infidelity and stunned that I did not know that he no longer loved me. I was painfully aware of how fleeting love and commitment could be.
The third time was the 9/11 attacks. I sat in front of the television and wept for the tragedy of it, and the insanity of it. I wept for all of those people who lost their lives and for the loved ones they left behind. I was aware of how emotionally devastating the loss of a loved one could be.
We all take our journey for granted at times, but I know my three turning points helped me to stop and to look at my life: once as a teenager, once as a young wife and mother, and once as a middle aged woman. I assessed where I was in my journey and how I wanted to proceed. Each of those points shook me at my core, and they caused major changes in what had maybe become a journey that was too ordinary. From each of those turning points I made specific choices about what I wanted to achieve in life. I’m not sorry about any one of my choices. Each one has brought me to where I am today; a happy, fulfilled, creative, and very blessed person.
What about you? Are there major turning points in your life that you can pinpoint?