Life Changers

Earlier this week there was a sort of ten-year anniversary for our family.  The first of May stands out for me, and probably will for quite a while.

Unfortunately, it’s not a happy anniversary.  Ten years ago from the first of May was when our family, at least the incarnation of it at the time, was destroyed.  In a sense, maybe it had to happen so that we could rebuild with a firmer foundation and learn from our many mistakes.  But it put us in an extended period of hell until we got the building blocks in place, and the reverberations from that earthquake continued for some time afterwards.

I originally intended to post about that anniversary and its effects, but I changed my mind after thinking it over.  First of all, I already posted a good bit about it (passworded).  Second, I had some other life events come to mind that I’d like to talk about instead.  Happier things.  Moments in my life that at least started out very ordinary, yet ended up or set into motion extraordinary, life changing events.  Good, or at least positive, events.  Allow me to share a few:

–  One summer I was spending at my grandmother’s house in Ohio.  Something us kids regularly did almost every summer.  We lived in Georgia at the time, and had grandparents in West Virginia and Ohio.  Sometimes my brother & I would go at the same time, sometimes we’d split between the two and then swap after a couple of weeks, spending time with the other set until we went back to the ATL and geared up for another school year.  (My sister had just started college by this time and had pretty much moved out with her own life).  It was July of 1982, if memory serves, and I was thirteen years old just barely short of hitting puberty.  I had called home for the obligatory vacation check-in telling my dad that no, I wasn’t driving Grandma crazy and I was behaving myself, how was the dog doing, what! you reaaranged my bedroom!, yada yada yada.  And then he proceeded to drop on me that his job was being transferred out to Southern California and we would be moving by the end of that year.

I was speechless, yet soon became giddy with excitement.  California at the time was nothing more than a dream to me, a distant horizon that until that moment held no hope of exploration, at least not in the foreseeable future.  But all of a sudden, not only was I going to have the opportunity to leave behind my miserable middle school existence in Georgia and have a fresh start, I was going to be able to do it in California!  Unreal!

Well, to make a long story short, the move was made and I spent the next fifteen years of my life in California.  And though I still had a lot of teen angst and insecurity issues that traveled with me to my new school and new life, I eventually managed to find my ground and my circle of friends, and see and do things and meet people that I never would’ve had in my previous life in the suburban ATL.  And even though I ended up returning to Georgia as an adult, with a family this time, I can say a very large part of the person I am today was forged from the time I spent in CA.

A few more (little shorter this time):

–  The day back in summer 1991 that I took a drive across town with my friend Doug, who was giving a female friend of his a ride to go babysit for another friend of hers.  The drive was a good 60-70 miles and it would likely be quite late before Doug got back, so he wanted me to accompany him to help drive or at least keep him awake.  That “another friend” who required babysitting services that afternoon and evening was none other than my future Yes Dear, starting an on-and off relationship that eventually became full-time, culminated in marriage some seven-and-a-half years later, and persists to this day almost 22 years after that original meeting.

–  One day at work in the SF Bay area, circa sometime in 1996, when we had been taken out to a local restaurant for a luncheon as an award for an exceptional month of production.  Yes Dear at the time was living in Arkansas near her parents and we had been separated for the better part of a year.  I had visited the previous summer and we had talked about rekindling our relationship, but had no clue as to how to make it work logistically.  Then my boss mentioned something offhand about one of our sister shops expanding.  In Georgia.  Near the very same area that I had moved from years earlier as a preteen.  All of a sudden I knew how to make it all work.  Put in for a transfer, go out to Georgia and get set up with the support of family close by (my sister), save some money, and then move Yes Dear and kids out with me to an area that was much more affordable than California, yet with more job and pay opportunities than Arkansas (at the time).  Though the end result didn’t happen exactly like I thought it would, that day set in motion an almost year-long effort towards a goal that I suddenly realized was achievable during an informal conversation with my boss.  There are times when I wish I could track him down and tell him what a difference he made in my life, particularly on that day.

–  About 3 ½ years ago, during my period of long-term unemployment in Georgia, when I was sitting at my computer looking through job boards and classifieds, and for no reason at all looked at the want ads in Arkansas and saw a position that fit my skills perfectly.  That started a saga that ended up with us eventually moving out here, something many of my regular readers may be familiar with.  And even though that job proved to be short-lived (and the one after it even more so), I was still able to set the groundwork for my family to be able to live out here.  Even though the antics of my extended (Yes Dear’s) family sometimes makes me wonder if it was worth it.

Okay, enough about me for now.  Anyone out there, regulars or lurkers, willing to share similar stories?  Moments in their life that began ordinary and ended up being extraordinary?  Life-changing or crossroads moments?  Turning points?  Please feel free to share in the comments.

5 thoughts on “Life Changers

  1. I don’t believe in coincidences or heavenly intervention either. If something happens, it just HAPPENS. Having said that, after working on the very same fire department for five years with Joe – I’d never met him, since there were three crews and seven houses. But the say he walked into the doorway and one of the men introduced him, my brain said “THERE HE IS”

    I never gave it another thought until I started dating him FIVE YEARS LATER. Weird things happen in our lives, don’t they.

    • I like to look on them as opportunities. Sometimes the moment is there and you take advantage of it and run with it. Sometimes you don’t recognize the moment and it passes by, whether you realize it or not. But seldom is it telegraphed or advertised, before or after. You just tend to recognize the moment much later, after your life has adjusted itself to its new course.

  2. I’ll never forget the moment I saw my husband for the first time in 1986; it’s as clear in my mind’s eye as it was then… I don’t want to overstate, but it really was like a thunderclap. We lived in two different states and I wouldn’t even give him the time of day at first, and though I ran away for awhile, I *knew* the first time I saw him that we would marry.

    It’s difficult to understand, even for me. Serendipity or Heavenly intervention?

  3. NIce post.
    I was on the rebound from my first marriage.
    I prayed for a wife.
    All I asked for was a blonde.
    Found a couple candidates but not quite.
    A very pleasant blonde woman who seemed to have six kids was in the same Bible study as myself, and though she was pleasant, I wasn’t taking on six kids.
    One day she took me up on an offer for automotive help I’d made the single women in our church.
    I found the kids were her nieces.
    We married 28 days later. Twenty years ago.
    I didn’t realize at the time that those kids would become almost like my own after all..

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