A friend of mine and I were discussing how the events we go through in our life shape the person we are today (combined with our personality traits and other factors).
So, what are some of the significant (or seemingly "insignificant" ) events in your life that made YOU who are you today??
For myself, it would be:
The death of my stepmom last year -- losing her has given me perspective on what I view to be important for me, and to chase after my dreams as she was one of my biggest cheerleaders.
Earning my 1st and 2nd degree black belts in karate -- I gained so much self-confidence during that 5-year period ... and yes I can kick ass if/when needed
Quitting my teaching career to pursue a doctorate in social psychology and new career as a research psychologist -- I am now doing what I love doing, even when it sucks sometimes ... conducting experimental research fuels my drive and feeds my soul in a way I can't describe.
There are others that seem more significant to me but may not be to others, like when my best friend many years ago "dumped" me -- this has had a profound impact on me even to this day -- as well as when I decided to get rid of the sexual shame and baggage from religion and have sex for the first time (I was 25 years old... yep, I said it, in public. No shame. ).
How about you??
I think people are a collection of all experiences and people(friends,family,etc.) in their life. Without anyone of them, you would not be the exact person you are today. Even reading your post changes me in some way. I gain another person’s experience/opinions in order to gauge my own views/opinions and how I see the world. Obviously there are varying degrees in which events or people change your life, but for the most part I think everything in your life contributes to who you are.
Major points in my life would be my brother getting in a car wreck when he was 13. I was 15. He became mentally and physically disabled and everybody’s life in the family changed in order to supplement the needs of my brother. While there was alot of loss in the way of my brother becoming handicapped, the major gain from this was the amount of value I, and we, had in family after this moment, especially at 15(when most of us are resentful and rebellious). My family became very close because of this and we still are to this day.
The second major point was joining the Navy for 4 years and traveling the world. Seeing other people and cultures in completely different countries where you can't even speak the native tongue has a way of opening your eyes about the reality of the world and exactly how small you are in it. The way other societies get along completely fine without the same social structures and religions really helped me to place my views firmly about atheism. It was the first time I realized you believe, for the most part, what and where you were brought up in. With varying overlap obviously. I came from a small southern town in the US and had sooo many ignorant views shattered in those few short years.
Those are a few of the major experiences that I think really had a big hand in shaping my views and self. Good post btw. Thanks for sharing your experiences as well.
*I went to eight different school by the time I started high school, and even now I still find that to be the single most defining aspect of my life... I became extremely introverted, turned to books and movies as my entertainment (still do, took myself to see Solo today!)... I have no childhood friends to speak of, and other than coworkers making friends as an adult is pretty nonexistent for me (dating? ha!)... I still feel anxiety when I walk into a busy cafeteria or get on a bus, and when I come upon a group of people laughing and having a good time together I immediately feel like an outcast. Good times, lol. Most people who know me would be surprised at all of this, because I’m good at faking normalcy.
*I had a 2.5 year “no strings” relationship with a guy that I really enjoyed spending time with and chatting with. We saw each other about once a month, and almost four years ago he abruptly broke off contact and I was bummed, but I figured maybe he met someone and didn’t know how to tell me. Two weeks later I randomly Googled him, found out he had committed suicide, leaving behind a wife and son that I did not know about. It’s hard to think that you might have been able to help someone overcome their suicidal desires, but worse to forever know that you might be a part of the cause.
*Two years ago I was having weird health issues, and in one day I was told that I had kidney cancer and most likely had ovarian cancer as well... scheduled two surgeries that day, then I had to go home and tell my parents and family, who were still reeling from my younger sister’s recent cervical cancer diagnosis. Two months later my surgeries were done, lost half my left kidney but my ovaries turned out to be okay, and after that I realized maybe being alone and content with solitude shouldn’t be my life plan... soooo, within the next couple of months I’m adopting a child through foster care, and at 42 single motherhood will hopefully be my greatest adventure! Oh, and P.S., I had my third post-surgical MRI last week, currently 21 months cancer free.
Yes and no. I'm more on the sociology side tho. You can have traumitic events in your life that will empower you. Some pain lasts forever. Just depends on the individual. IMHO it depends on if you have moral support. That helps.
I'm going to be cryptic. I can't answer your personal questions for various reasons, but I like how you want to help people. We'll leave it at that.
A series of bad things happened in a short period of time...
Around 2005 my girlfriend of ten years and I broke up, we have two kids together.
Shortly after that, I started having Epileptic seizures, I had one at work and because of the nature of my job driving, it would be too dangerous so that job was over.
I had to move into my parent's house for what I thought was going to be a short time.
I had moved my mechanics tools into their garage and was starting the search for a job going back to working on cars.
One day my son and I were wrestling around on the floor, he jumped on my stomach with both knees when I wasn't looking and it ruptured my colon. I had to have emergency surgery and was then fitted with a colostomy bag.
While I was in the hospital someone broke into the garage and stole most of my tools (approx. $7,000 worth) the one day I didn't have it locked. Very sketchy but that's another long story.
About this time my dad had a couple of "mini-strokes" which caused him to have worsening memory problems leading to Alzheimer's Disease.
He got to the point that we had to put him in a home because mom was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and we had to help her at home as best we could with hospice helping because she didn't want to die in a hospital.
Sometime in 2007, I was lucky enough to be able to have surgery to have the bag removed.
My brother and I took care of mom at home, he was given the power of attorney over their estate, turned out he was stealing from it.
In April of 2008, my mom died, four months later my dad died.
I had to get out of the house at this point and a friend in California who owns a concrete business left me a standing offer of a job. I packed up what I could get on a plane and took off.
It was going well out there until the seizures started to become more frequent (most likely from the heat) and again I couldn't be on a job site and be a danger to myself or others. My back was also pretty trashed from that type of heavy work.
I told my friend I'd try to find something else.
This was in 2010, I worked a few odd jobs here and there but by that time I was homeless. I remained that way for about a year.
Sometime in 2011, I contacted my sister who agreed to let me stay with her.
I had a welding job in 2012 for a short time until (you guessed it) between my back and the seizures I couldn't do it anymore.
I earned my keep around here by doing some remodeling work on sis's house. I'm still here.
In 2013 I filed for disability and have been turned down several times. I think I'm on the fifth try now, I've lost track.
In the meantime, while all of this wasn't enough I missed seeing two of my children grow into young adults. My daughter's 21st birthday was a few days ago.
I joke around a lot, it helps keep the depression at bay, along with medication.
My criminal record has taught me the hard way of what not to do, or at least don't get caught doing it. Very expensive events. Lol.
Each serious relationship molds you in one way or another. You always give and take something from one another. These are intimate relationships and close friends.
But truthfully, every second of everyday of our lives molds us and steers the direction of our future.
(1). Foster care at 5.
(2). Being raised around my crazy oldest brother.
(3). Getting into college at 17.
(4). College-1st and 2nd degrees.
(5). Basic Training.
(6 ). PPPSC Fort Belvoir
(7). My former wife firing a pistol at me while I was in bed in 2012.
(8 ). The birth of my daughter (2006).
(9). Getting custody.
Allowing someone to die in their way on their terms. It seems like we always want to make them do what we want to do and prolong their life the way we think it should be prolonged. Who are we to tell someone else what to do with their life? I think I learned this, finally. It took a very courageous person to teach me. He died and I miss him. But I understand. I will always be there to support the will of another. That's my promise as a friend, lover or family member.
Hrmm. There's a lot. I grew up in an extremely dysfunctional extended family. Because of who my parents were I was sheilded from the worst of it but I know intimately the evil that regular people can do and still walk around like nothing happened.
My parents illnesses and passing changed me and having children of my own changed me more. I had a really bad health scare at the end of my last pregnancy that really brought home my own mortality.
Other than that I have met some amazing and outrageous people along the way and had some adventures of my own. It all shaped me, I think.
I don't know if I can do this in order, but I was abused as a young child. My mom died when I was 14 and at 15 I got the step monster from hell. Joining the Army changed me in good ways, travel overseas and learning how other people live is life changing. Having children was life changing in so many ways. When my oldest got the the age I was when I was abused it freed me because I was then able to fully understand it wasn't my fault. I was too young to know anything and too young to have prevented it. That awakened the Mama Bear in me, I protect my cubs and it doesn't take much for someone to become my cub. And divorce changed me, I found out again how resilient I am.
1 - Seeing the Broadway show "Pippin" when I was 13. It ignited a love of musical theatre that I have to this day. More than that, as a shy cerebral kid, it gave me something that got me out of my head.
2 - Going away to performing arts camp when I was almost 16. For the first time, I felt like I was part of a community.
3 - Going away to college in NYC when I was 18. Not only did it expose me to people and experiences I never had growing up in suburbia, it opened me up emotionally and got me into relationships that exposed a lot of burried pain and trauma in my life, sending me on a journey of self-discovery and healing that took many years.
4 - Getting our dog, Sandy, when I was 22. She was my family's first real pet, a shelter dog who needed us as much as we needed her. At a time when all the members of my family were falling apart, she was the touchstone that kept us together.
5 - Meeting a writing teacher at age 31 who turned my life around by getting me back in touch with a love of writing I had lost a decade before. It started me on the road to writing a novel. It was also the first time since my teen years where I felt I was doing something because I was moving towards something I loved and not moving away from something I feared.
6 - Meeting a friend at age 37 who introduced me to Buddhism: for the first time I understood what it felt like to have compassion for myself. She's also been one of my closest friends since.
7- Going back to school at age 43 to study graphic design. Like with writing, the art classes in the program got me back in touch with my love of art, this time something I had lost 20 years before.
8 - Getting diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma last year, at age 53. It's turned my world upside-down in ways I could never have imagined. Getting out of my head, putting my needs first, meeting new people and being in relationship for the first time in many years, getting rid of a lot of mental and physical clutter, and caring a whole lot less about getting other people's approval for how I live my life.
Wow, looking over this list, I realize it's been quite a ride. And it's far from over yet.
In my lifetime so far I have learned that no matter what has happened to you or me some out there had it a lot worse. That doesn't make it easer, because pain is still pain.Some people are able to rise above it, some of them you would think there's no way, but the prove you wrong.
I have had several over my 80 years. Among them:
Many great testimonies here. I feel alot for all you guys.
I have lived a charmed semi-uneventful mostly positive life. I look back that I am today the result of decisions I made in the past (not necessary events). Not all good or bad but still no regrets.
Experiencing my parents divorce as an adult. I was 23 at tge time. They had 30 years in and I had thought myself to be in an ivory tower of a nuclear family before then.
My mother's death from brain cancer 2 years ago.(Glioblastoma) Diagnosed June 1 and she passed Sept 6. Took a leave of absence to move back home from across the country to live with her and my brothers and help get things in order.
Becoming legal co-guardian of my 14 yo brother with my older sister. Caused a big fight/fall out with my dad who hadn't been in his life in 7 years.
Family vacations to camp at national parks. Nearly yearly excursions to beautiful, wild places.
5 summers working seasonally in the Rocky Mountains as an Environmental Educator and conservationist.
Deciding a month ago to have our poly partner move in with my wife and I. Jury is still out on the results of this move, but so far it's all love and going smoothly.