Friday, August 19, 2005

Decisive Moments

There is nothing in this world that does not have its decisive moment. - Henri Cartier-Bresson.

This quote is my absolute favorite and I have put a copy of it on my computer monitor at work so I can be reminded daily. I have had a few decisive moments in my short 37 years and thought I would share them.

My most dramatic life-changing decisive moment was probably the precise second I turned my head to see who was walking by my office at work and it happened to be Karl. Sounds simple, eh? Let's put it this way - my life until that second had been simple. Before then I had only been going through the motions. I had loved other people before, but not like this one. And this love was, is complicated for a number of reasons. We just let it be and let it take us where it wants to go.

Second most important decisive moment was when I was interviewing for jobs as I finished up graduate school and happened to call an old coworker just in case she could help in my job search. That led to a series of interviews that eventually brought me here to California. I left my family, old friends, beloved Chapel Hill and everything I knew about the world.

Third place decisive moment came on some warm, humid evening in the summer of 1991. I was having an excruciatingly painful discussion with my then-husband in the car on the way home. We were having a fight. I was shocked at myself; I wanted a divorce. I was 24. It was an epiphany.

There are several other decisive moments that deserve honorable mention. In no particular order, they include the afternoon my coworker taught me how to knit; the split second that my dog ran into the street while I was rollerblading with her (I fell to the ground and broke my front teeth); the day in grade school that I wrote my first essay and realized I liked to write stuff; the decision to take up photography because I was bored being just a housewife and needed a hobby; the realization that time had not stood still for me in North Carolina when I went home for a family visit (this one made me decide to move on with my life on the west coast and buy a house); the decision to let a poor stray cat into the house one stormy night during a hurricane - my first cat, ever. And the ultimate decisive moment which my parents made for *me* was when they put me on a plane from the Philippines to the United States when I was a tiny 3 year old. I love my parents for that. Sometimes I wonder how different my life would be if they had not made that decision.

I was reading an article in this month's Real Simple about "getting happy". One of the ways to teach yourself how to think happily is to meditate about what you are grateful for. And then this led me to think about which decisions I've made that have led to some of the most enriching, gratifying and enlightening aspects of my life.

Would you be willing to share some of your decisive moments?

*new posts to Image Zone.


JoanM said...

hi Lynette,
Thanks for sharing those wonderful decisive moments in your life. One of ours was when we decided to adopt a child from overseas. I have a lovely son who was born in India, and I often wonder about his mum, and how she felt giving him up. He is now 27.
If ever you decide to come to Australia let me know. We go to Queensland several times a year if we can, my family lives there

Birdsong said...

What a great post... I will have to ponder what were the most decisive moments; I know a big one was when my then-husband and eldest son came home from a visit to my now-husband's new home, purchased in some obscure tiny Sierra gold mining town I had never heard of, called Forest City. I knew right away we would be moving there once the (third) child I was pregnant with was born. Short version is that I stayed, he left after a few years, I managed as a single mom for four years in a very harsh environment, changing entirely my perception of myself, and eventually married my friend of 14 years, now my DH of 11 years.

I have been loosely keeping a gratitude journal for several months, trying to every night before bed list five things I am grateful for... it has given me balance through a year of upheaval, and my life feels more on track than ever. Blessings to you, and lets get together and knit over coffee sometime this fall!

Cyndi said...

Great post - very thought provoking! For me, I would have to say my most decisive moment was when I was 17, and sorting through a stack of college literature 6 feet high. I decided to leave home and everyone I knew in North Dakota to move to Colorado to go to college. It was a huge step for me, but the best decision I've ever made. The second most decisive moment was when one of my professors asked me if I wanted to take a semester off from school to go work for a big high tech company in Rio Rancho, NM. I jumped at the chance, and it led to my current job. And the third would have to be the night my husband and I made the decision that I should embark on the adventure that I'm currently undertaking - going to law school in a city 150 miles from home... that was by far the most difficult decision of my life, and the outcome of that one remains to be seen.

LoriO said...

Cyndi's right, very thought provoking. In fact so thought provoking that I'm going to have to think about it for awhile. My immediate thought is that I've had no decisive moments. I feel like my whole life has been just like a leaf in the wind. But that can't possibly be true. Hmmmmm...

Great post!

Ruth said...

loved your post! i learned a little bit more about you - thank you so much for sharing! in my opinion, i'm still quite young, but i have several decisive moments that stand out to me:

1) my faith: i was 13 and i decided to be a christian and get baptized. that decision has drastically molded me and made me who i am today.
2) my self-esteem: sometime after i graduated from college (undergrad) my father approached me and apologized for his past parenting skills, due to how i turned out (which was "bad", apparently). At that very moment i decided i would no longer look down on myself anymore - rather than believing my dad's words, i chose to be hugely offended because inside i decided that i was a good and worthy person, despite his opinion of me.
3) my husband: choosing him in my life. it was a big decision because it costed my relationship with my parents, but it was worth it and i would do it all over again.

ok then... now you know a little about me =)

Stephanie said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing. For me, one of the most decisive moments for me was calling off my wedding in 2001. I decided that I wasn't going to be happy, and despite all the problems with cancelling a wedding, I did it. And then Travis and I really worked on our relationship and decided that we loved each other enough to stay together and we worked it out - and then actually got married in 2003. Another big moment (or series of moments) for me was deciding that the little things really don't matter to me and I just let go of them - the toilet seat, the dishes, the blanket on the couch, you know. And my decision to study karate has changed my life (just don't talk to me about that this week)