Our Defining Moments
By Bernadette A. Moyer
We all have them. The defining moments and the defining years, they usually harken back to when we learned many valuable lessons. When we learn to drive and when we graduate and when we marry and when we have children. There are the years when we advance our careers and others when we experiences profound losses. Sometimes our defining moments come with a specific year and birthdate. I remember getting married at 19, being pregnant at the age of 20 and having a child just three days after I turned 21. I remember being widowed at the age of 23.
When I turned 25 I was completely miserable as a single mother with a 4 year old daughter. I was in an inappropriate relationship and feeling lost. My mother tried to cheer me up but the truth was I was transitioning from immature to a mature adult. I was finally taking hold of my life and responsibility for myself. That year I returned to school, changed careers and at age 26 purchased my first home. I became a Realtor and afforded not only a mortgage, but a new car and a child in private school. It wasn’t easy but I was determined and driven.
At age 30 I was mourning another failed relationship that ended badly. But at age 32 I would meet my husband who would become my long term love and life partner. Together we would embark on merging our broken families as we both had a spouse die and leave us with children. It wasn’t always smooth sailing but we were making it work. By age 38 I was feeling so accomplished as my child graduated from a highly regarded all girls Catholic Prep school with a fully funded academic scholarship. I was happy and I was thin and I was feeling good.
My feelings of accomplishment would be short lived because as it became time for my child to set her own course she would leave home and never look back. I grew up in my 30’s and my 40’s. I succeeded then and into my 50’s when yet another family drama would tear at me. More angry more hate more hurtful family that would take their pound of flesh when my desire to share “my story” was about to come to the light. All was well as long as they could conceal their flaws, scapegoat me and re-write history. It was yet another learning curve for me. Once I had a much better opinion of the key players than what they ever deserved.
But all was not lost as my heart grew larger, my self-worth increased and my faith in God prevailed. What I was left with was more lessons learned and a greater sense of peace.
Time always ferrets out the truth. We can package things anyway that we like but history always emerges with the truth. As parents we have a hard time watching our adult children fail. Many times by the poor choices that they would make and yet we all made them. And we survived just like they will.
My husband says that he was also miserable at age 25 when he wasn’t quite happy with the choices that he had made either. But isn’t that life? It is about learning and about growing up. It was about transitioning from thinking like a child to behaving like an adult. It was about being responsible for our own lives and our own decisions.
Today at 55 we are both happier than we have ever been. Together we have much life experience between us. We know what happy is and we know what sad is and we know that everything changes and to appreciate the here and the now and all that life offers. We are alive and healthy and that is what matters most to us.
Every one of us can be mad or sad about something we can also make the decision to be happy and glad. It is through the struggle that we find enlightenment.
Sometimes when we look back at the storms that we weathered and the loss that we suffered and the pain that we endured, we can remember that each was nothing more than the catalyst for change and for growth and that it was merely time for learning another lesson.
So here is to our defining moments … the ones that shaped us and made us who and what we are today!
Bernadette on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer