5 Moments That Changed My Life

As I’ve been going through my old archives (I have deleted almost 150 old entries so far and I’m just barely halfway through 2004) I am reminded how much of what we do on Facebook and Twitter…we used to do on blogs. Funny write-ups about embarrassing moments with coffee spills, cute memes designed to allow you to tell how you met your significant other, single questions floating around that we all take turns answering…all of these things used to be done on blogs and it is interesting now to know that I’m still doing it all, but it’s not all in one place. But back in 2004? It was. It was all right here in this space. And while I’m trashing a lot of the old content, like the coffee-spill stories, I’m keeping the “Getting To Know You” type content and kinda wishing I had made sure to put all of the ones in the years since it changed over here too.

So today! I will do just that. I saw a Twitter question floating around that everyone was taking time to thread responses for and I decided instead…to do it here!

I think this started with Oprah writing about the 5 Moments That Changed Her Life in People. But honestly, I just saw it posed on Twitter a few weeks ago as the simple question: What 5 Moments Changed Your Life? It was just that I was trying to find the original tweeter when I stumbled upon this article from Oprah and decided to give her the credit instead because my guess is that this is actually where the idea started. So! Without further ado…

1. My Parent’s Divorce

I definitely think I’d be a different person if my parents stayed together. Being raised by my Dad shaped so much of who I am that I can’t imagine who I’d be with a different upbringing. I don’t know what a Kim without singular daily influence of his parenting would even look like.

I’m also not sure it would have given me a healthy view of marriage because my parents really did not belong together. Instead I saw several of my friend’s parents as the good examples they were, and several aunts/uncles and I had a very good impression of marriage that I might not have had otherwise.

2. Teen Pregnancy

Getting pregnant at 18 is probably the singular biggest shaper of my life. I could write 70,000 words about the positive ripple effects this had on my life but for the framework of things that changed me in the moment I’m going to specifically address that I was on a very self-destructive path before I got pregnant. I had discovered drugs and music and partying and I was feeling the need to sow my wild oats in 100 different ways and so, without that pregnancy, I am terrified to imagine where that path would have led.

4 days after he was born, I look so comfortable don’t I?

4. A Hike In The Woods

I was about 2 semesters from graduating with a Biology degree and still had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. I liked being outside and I liked the subject but didn’t know what that would lead me to, professionally. I was hiking in the Sipsey Wilderness one day and just ran across a guy using a GPS unit to map the trails and we talked about the Geography program at the college I was currently enrolled in and the job prospects with that background and I immediately went and declared Geography my minor and made plans to come back to get a second Bachelor’s Degree in professional Geography. And while I haven’t used that degree in years, that program is where I met Donnie and where I go confidence around computers and data and it really shaped my life in a million different ways.

4. Confrontation

This is a story I will tell discreetly but it is not a story that only belongs to me and so I’m not going to preserve it in it’s entirety. But let’s just say that my first few years of college and adulthood saw me making a lot of terrible decisions to satisfy some unhealthy desire for acceptance in some weird journey of self-discovery. I started trying to retake control of who I was in the world in a more responsible way, probably starting with the previously mentioned change of study. I also split from my first husband and severed a lot of ties with unhealthy relationships. BUT…my past was still there and one fateful night I was confronted about it all by a dear friend whose heart I had broken and it just shattered my world into a million different pieces and definitely sped up the transformation I was already undergoing. It forced me to be alone in many ways that I had never been before and while it was very painful at the time, I know I would not be who I am today without it.

5. Dad’s Death

I mean, this is a given, right? But yeah…my Dad dying definitely changed my life and even though he was in hospice for a bit, it was still very unexpected even a few months earlier. I really thought I’d have him well into his 90s because that’s how long his parents lived and so it changed my life in the sense that I never really considered having to do all of this without his comfort and guidance. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve quietly cried about not being able to call him when I’m overwhelmed, I’d have at least 2,000 bucks saved up over the decade since he has passed. It happened just this weekend again. I wish I could say that I had a clear understanding of the good things that came out of his death, but I still don’t. I still feel like my life would be better with him in it. I feel like my mental health problems got worse after he left and I’m not sure that’s had any sort of positive effect on my life at all. So, definitely a moment that changed my life…but not in a good way. Other than I am much better at dealing with death in other people’s lives now. I’m not scared of it, or of talking about it.

Honorable Mentions (If I had been allowed 10.)

These are things that I had to consider to put in the top 5, but that eventually lost out.

  1. When I was 9’ish I was staying at the hospital where my Dad worked on a day there was no school and I was in a closed/low traffic portion of his building when some creepy guy came through, noticed there were no adults around, and came through again butt-naked. I ended up having to talk to the police about it and while nothing happened to me, I convinced myself for months he was going to come to my house and kill my family to punish me for ratting him out. I have many therapists blame some of my extreme anxieties on that incident and the irrational fear that followed.
  2. Deciding to start smoking had severe negative impacts on my health but it still was a moment that shaped my life in that I met people I’m not sure I would have met otherwise (in smoking areas outside of buildings) and strangely I think it gave me a confidence I was lacking. I do not condone smoking, obviously, quitting was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but I’d be foolish to ignore how smoking shaped me in college and adulthood.
  3. Pursuing a relationship with Donnie only didn’t make the list because I wouldn’t have met him if I had never gone on that hike in the woods and so I felt like I should put that one on the list instead since it also affected my professional path.
  4. My reproductive challenges really shaped a lot of who I am but that didn’t make the list because it wasn’t really one clear moment, so to speak.
  5. My Mom’s wreck in 2018 shaped a lot of my life in the last 2 years and I’m not sure 20 years from now I’ll find it as “impactful” but since we’re kinda still in the trenches of the war that followed it feels very impactful still.

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