In one’s life, there are many turning points. Always the opportunity to go this way or that. Take the high road or the….not so high road! But always choice. Choice in the face of whatever life places before us.
What differentiates a turning point from a choice? Well, I want to think that a turning point is some huge significant shift that takes me in a direction I might never have considered. Something fate deems my destiny. Whereas a choice seems less consequential. As in, I choose strawberry instead of chocolate. But the mere choice of turning left instead of right can have huge repercussions that we can’t possibly anticipate. And that seemingly innocuous choice can become a turning point.
I moved to New York from California in 2005. I knew it would be a huge turning point in my life. One day coming home from the gym I turned right instead of left and was in a death defying automobile accident. It was a simple choice that became a huge turning point in my life.
I am fascinated by the number of things that must line up for an apparent accident to happen. The timing, the players, the environment, that perfect moment in time that brings all the elements together to create the “accident.” Random? Maybe. Inconsequential? Absolutely not. It is as if we had chosen it.
In my goal to never feel victim to any of the choices and/or events of my life, I continually seek some higher meaning to whatever happens to or through me. If I didn’t consciously choose it, I want to at least know that I can gain some wisdom from it.
One of the huge turning points of my life was my first marriage…and its subsequent demise. I grew up thinking only ignorant people got divorced. Any sane, intelligent being could work through whatever the obstacles might be and move beyond the mundane petty grievances that threaten a union. This would NEVER happen to me!
Jump cut: the end of my first marriage. A travesty? A devastation? A gift? Yes, all of the above. A choice? Not a conscious one. A turning point? Without question. I remember thinking even in the middle of what, to that point, was the worst pain of my life, “I am gonna be SO GOOD when I get through this!” It rocked my world…and not in a good way. But the reality is I needed my world rocked in that way. I needed to begin the breakdown of everything I held true and dear for I was living in ignorance of how the world worked and what my place in it was going to be.
There are many opportunities to choose in a lifetime. But whether we choose consciously or seemingly have our destiny thrust upon us, the opportunity to learn and grow is inherent in every experience. And whether we view it as a choice or a turning point, our ability to pay attention to the events of our lives will have a profound effect on the choices we make going forward. Be alive to the turning points, move with grace through them no matter how they may feel at the time. They hold the treasure to all you came here to be.