Saturday, December 02, 2006

Brain on the loose

Have you ever wondered how one event changes the course of your life?

Last year, I asked this question on my blog.

I did not get one response.

Was this too threatening a question? Too thought-provoking? Too intimidating? Too esoteric? Or just plain stupid?

Now, at the time, I had only posted 4 times...I was a blogger "newbie", if you will. But I thought it was a pretty good question (if I do say so myself).

Of course, for me that answer has always been obvious: the death of my father at age 10 had to be the most life changing event of my life. But...I wonder if there were others.

And, is it events that change our lives...or is it our reactions to events that change our lives?

For example: Two people can be driving along and suddenly hit a flurry of traffic. One person may succumb to this situation with anger and bitterness. While another may blast a Frank Sinatra CD, enjoying the extra time spent in the car singing her lungs out (that would be no one I know persoanally).

The event changes both of these lives (they will arrive late to their destination, thereby setting off a chain of other events, etc). But it's really the reaction to the event that impacts our personality, our health, and our relationships with others.

Is this all too confusing? Perhaps...but it's food for thought. Probably only food for my thoughts.

So, there you have it...a glimpse into my mind. Now you know what's running around loose in there.

If you care to comment this year...be my guest. If not...I'll know not to ask this question again next year.

23 comments:

Irina Tsukerman said...

I'm not sure whether it's ever one particular event that changes our lives. It's often hard to isolate one thing from all the circumstances and other events linking to and surrounding it. I think more in terms of *situations* and series of events that can change our lives... if we let them!

Val said...

This is very thought provoking a question. I don't think I have one such moment, but i DO love to think about all the things that had to have happened in my life to get me to the place I'm at now. Not sure if that was what you were asking, but I do believe that things can happen that change the course you're on and you may not be aware of it, until later on when you look back.

Chana said...

Oh, I could go nuts on this one. There are so many things that had to fall into place in order for me to eventually become an observant Jew, including but not limited to going to a Lutheran university, majoring in music, being friends with a non-music major who eventually worked with and introduced me to my now-husband, who shared my love for classical music and who my friend thought I'd "go on one or two dates with"...!!

torontopearl said...

One event CAN change our lives, the path it takes. Being at the right place at the right time might make for a new job opportunity, or might allow one to meet the person who will become their spouse, or might save a person, depending on the circumstances. And the reaction to the event, I believe, is part and parcel of it all.

Baleboosteh said...

Oh my gosh! I have a few... at about 14 years old - waking up in a burning bedroom while staying at my best friends house (we are both lucky to be alive!), at about 16 years old finding out my father is not actually my biological father and at 21 I lost my Mum who I was very close to to cancer.

There are so many more. I also agree with Val, I think life changing things may happen and we may not realise until later.

kasamba said...

But then the question begs itself- is it just the reaction of events that differ as to allow an event to change our lives?
Example:
Two people open their car doors without checking to see if there are any cars coming behind them. one person is fine and the other is smithereens. Why is one fine, while the other is toast? Do we even take on board all our 'near misses?'
Uh, sorry for not being coherent...

Ezzie said...

I always wonder... and then stop, because it gets way too complicated really quickly. (See "butterfly effect" :) ) It's much easier to look back after much has changed and then point to the little factors that caused it all.

Mia said...

Personally I can think of many moments in my life that changed everything. But mostly I only realized it later on. I rarely had the "omg - now everything will change-moment" But I do believe that it is events which are life changing and not only the reactions.....

Wendy said...

I do think that some events are so huge that they cause change, but don't dictate what that change will be. I think it's our reactions (choices and attitudes) to the events that pave our direction.

Anonymous said...

every once in awhile an angel is sent my way...and each time my life has been changed...thanks for the post and for reminding me...wow...stay safe cruisin

Ezzie said...

I've often heard it said: The moments you think at the time are something big are often not as important as you think they are; the ones you think are just small stories often have the greatest impact.

Stacey said...

I have noticed in life that the smallest, most seemingly inconsequential decisions and choices I've made have had the biggest impact for me.

But I understand what you're saying. Our reaction to life's events is incredibly important. It's not something easily generalized, though. Some events, by their nature, are life-altering and would be for anyone.

cheated are the clouds said...

A reaction to an action, Mmmm thought provoking as usual cruisin, now let me think for a moment, I think the action is put before us and the reaction is up to us, and the way we handle it certainly changes things, but, Don't mind me I'm just talking to myself ? Failing grade seven changed my whole world, all insecurities became a lifetime of struggle, I am so confused by this but it is intersting, (I am now taking several asprin, for this sudden headache) nice post

cruisin-mom said...

Hi everyone: I so appreciate everyone's thoughts and feelings. It's an interesting question, and probably impossible to answer in any "right" way.

Therefore, I am not going to respond to each comment, because they are all valid, and truly thoughtful.

Thanks for your wonderful thoughts.

Head over heel said...

I can only say if I did not had to leave the states because my lawyer srewed up my permit, I would have never met my husband.

Leann said...

10 years ago I was just about to learn I had cancer.and 3o some years before that I asked Jesus into my life.10 years ago in the hospital I was sooo sick I asked Jesus if I was dieing?I knew I was ready to go .but I needed to know so I could bless my kids and grandkids and get them ready.now I knew the Lord had promised me I would do things I had not done yet.so I needed to be sure I had heard him right!! so I asked him.and in my dark room in the middle of the night the king of glory told his sick child "this is not unto to death but for my glory.I said say it one more time if its really you Lord and I will only believe you.He said it one more time as clear as a bell.two days later my daughter came into my room crying, I said whats wrong?she said mom the Doc says you only have 3 weeks to live.I said well Jesus told me I wasn,t going to die.and she got this big smile on her face and said Iam going to believe him to.that was 11 years ago this coming Jan.and Iam cancer free and my blood comes back as if I never had cancer.do things change your life Yes they do.and I could go on and on.check out my friend Marallyn ben moshe blog and there are more.thanks for the chance to share with you.there are unseen helpers here to help us.angels do grace the air with the rusel of their wings.just cause they do not show themselves to all does not mean they aren,t here.they walk with us and do their job and seldom let them selves be seen.but they are there.Merry christmas and a blessed and happy new year to all.tell me of your unexplained I would love to hear if you care to share.

Sweettooth120 said...

Well I am going to take this question in another direction. Not so much an event but a person (and I am not referring to the "teacher who changed the life of the poor, struggling streetkid.") When I first glanced at your question, I was thinking about all my friends and acquaintences whose behaviors and actions, I have adopted, and they have no idea of their contribution or influence in my life. It spans from the obscure to the profound. I would also include not only their contributions through emulating an action or behavior, but the degrees of separation to others. If I didn't meet so and so, then perhaps I wouldn't have met xyz, and so forth.

But now that I am thinking about it, as for your question, when one of my best friends got married, I was unable to attend his wedding. Two months later, I was on the East Coast and was invited to his inlaws house. It was there, I met my husband, who decided the last minute to accompany some mutual friends of the groom,to the house.

Now, my husband was at the wedding but who knows if I had been able to attend the wedding and met him there, if a relationship would have developed like it did, coincidently a few months later. It's probably both, the action and the reaction.

cruisin-mom said...

HOH: sounds like a bad lawyer joke that went "right"!!!

Leann: While I appreciate your belief, it is not one that I share. I don't believe that God watches over one person, and spares their life, while deciding that another will die. I believe that everyone dies, how and when is different for each individual...it just happens, not at the discretion of God.
But I have always admired and perhaps even been a bit envious of such a belief in God. However, it is has not been a part of my belief system. Thanks for sharing your story...and I'm glad that you are cancer free :)

S.T.: that's a great story, love it!

Anonymous said...

I think that even for those of us who have led somewhat mundane lives, there are a lot of forks in the road like those you're describing, but they don't seem to carry the same punch as those that are serious, duress-laden, life-or-death moments (PsychoToddler's mother's story that I recently re-read, or on a lesser scale, RaggedyDad's story of how he and his family left Russia, both come to mind). Even so, those of us who've been lucky to have calm, quiet lives, surely have our own decisive moments.

Elisabeth said...

Back in the early 90's, the French director Alain Resnais directed two films, meant to be viewed in tandem, titled Smoking/No Smoking, which basically showed how a different decision (to have or not to have a cigarette) at a given point in time could alter one's life. I have never seen these films, which are not available on DVD in this country, but have heard that they were quite good, although Resnais can be quite cerebral.

A U.S. remake of sorts of this film, titled Sliding Doors, with Gwyneth Paltrow, was made in 1998 - that one I remember seeing, it was not bad.

I try to avoid the "what ifs..." of my life, because living one's life turned toward the past (except to benefit from its lessons) is utterly unproductive. Although, of course, I have used a zillion pixels on my own blog to elaborate on memories from my childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, married life, etc. Go figure!

The most pivotal event in my life was my decision to get married to an American, which led me to move permanently from France to the U.S. in 1975, and the second one was the birth of my daughter. Becoming a parent alters you live and perspective thereon forever.

cruisin-mom said...

raggedy mom: perhaps your life is not so mundane as you think...you never know how a decision you made effected someone else's life in a positive way.

Elisabeth: thanks so much for stopping by. You must have come here through Neil.
I thought Sliding Doors was a very good movie. What's interesting about that movie (don't read further if you don't want a spoiler), is that in both stories, she meets the same man...suggesting that perhaps our lives are destined and fated.

PsychoToddler said...

When I was 19 I got a gig playing for NCSY in Chicago.

It made a profound difference in my life.

cruisin-mom said...

P.T.: if I remember correctly, that is where you met Mr.Balabusta, right?