Life Defining Moments
I believe that at some time in our lives, we all experience those moments when we have this overwhelming desire to redefine what we want to do with our lives and decide upon whom we want to share our future with, for however long it may be. These are the times when we may decide that we need to leave the past behind, as much as we can and move on with the future. These are often called LIFE DEFINING MOMENTS.
These “life defining moments” can come about after we loose someone we love, or after a near death experience, or when we see the pain and suffering that someone we care about is going through, knowing there is nothing that we can do to ease the way for them. These moments can also occur when we suffer great disappointments within a relationship, with a job or with our family, when suddenly all that we have worked so hard for, all that we have put so much time and effort into, just does not give us what we hoped for or expected that it would. We realise that something is missing in our lives and we feel that we need to discover what it is.
So often disappointment seems to take over our very existence, an ache settles near our heart, consuming us, and we wonder if all we had done with our life or our relationships was enough, or could we have done more to change/save things. Was there anything else that we or anyone else could have done to make things different?
It can be at these times that we try to get life to stand still for just a moment so we can take stock of where we are in life, or where we see our lives leading us, so we can look at what we truly want out of life. These are never easy moments to surrender to, but they don’t go away without decisions being made. We can try to put those moments out of our mind, but they will still come back to taunt us.
With a new sense of excitement, though sometimes also with a deep sense of fear (because we are unsure of how much of the past we can let go, knowing that it has all help make us into who are today), we look at what we have, and decide if it’s what we truly want and need at this point in our life. Sometimes we feel there is something missing, not always knowing what that ‘something’ is. It’s like an ache that won’t go away, a need that has not been fulfilled or a dream that has not been realised. We can’t quite put our finger on what is that is missing; we just know that it is not there.
How do we explain what it is? How do we find it? Where is it hidden? Does it even exist apart from in our own inner needs or desires? Is it real, or just a part of a sense of ‘incompleteness’ we have about our own life? Has fairy tale or illusion become mixed up within reality, so we just don’t know what is real inside our own mind and life anymore? Is there such a thing as perfect happiness? How do we deal with lives disappointments? How do we get to truly understand and accept with our hearts, the knowledge that disappointments, disillusionment and emotional hurting are just phases that we all must go though in this not so perfect life that we live? How do we get to understand and accept that we will get through these life changing times, becoming much stronger along the way and always one step closer to truly understanding all that we need to know about this life of ours?
Why is it that some of those life changing moments affect some people so deeply, and yet for others there is barely a ripple formed on their river of life? Why is it that some people become swamped with lives problems, and yet others just seem to sail away, moving forwards without a struggle and not showing any outward signs that their life has changed in any significant way?
Are we getting so good at hiding our emotions from others, that we often also hide them from ourselves? Are people closing themselves down, so they are seen to be less vulnerable? Is heartfelt emotion now seen as a weakness and not as a great strength?
How do we decide what is right and what is wrong for us as individuals, when others are also involved in our lives? Do we have the right to make that decision for just ourselves alone, leaving others to also deal with the consequences of our actions? How do we find the strength to let go of dreams that have included others, knowing that in letting go of those dreams, we must also in some way shatter their dreams, and change their lives forever. Dare we follow our dreams, our instincts, our desires, our beliefs for the future, knowing that others may not understand what we are seeking?
Those decisions are most often the hardest to make. Those are the times that are truly life changing, not only for ourselves, but also for others. How do we find that happiness we are searching for, knowing that we are also bringing life changing moments to those that may have shared so much of our journey to this point in life with us? They may not even realise that we have been searching for something that we feel is missing within our lives, and they may have no idea that we are about to change their lives forever, because of the decisions we are about to make. Will they (family, friends, loved ones, work colleagues) eventually accept that the decisions we make are what we had to do, for our own sense of self, our own life and right to happiness? Do we have the right to seek happiness at what may seem to be “the expense of others”? Sometimes these are the questions we ask ourselves, knowing the answers may never be forthcoming.
We may think that we will never be forgiven for some of the decisions we make in life, because ultimately those decisions do affect other people and many may be hurt by our actions. Whilst we may be ready to move forwards and embrace a new life with open arms, many others are not ready to do this, and when a situation is thrust upon them, they don’t want to or can’t, accept it. You hope that they eventually will, but it can still be quite devastating to many people. Do we let this stop us from doing what our hearts and soul tells us to do? Do we have that right to be selfish and search out our future, our dreams, the part of us that is missing?
We all have to live our own lives and fulfil our own destinies, and we cannot live others lives for them. We must all make our own choices in life, and if that means making hard choices, choices that are not always popular, but ones that we know within our selves are right, then we have to do that. We have to live our lives and when our life comes to an end, we have to know that we did all that we could to fulfil our destiny as we felt it within our hearts and our souls.
The truth is, that sometimes in life decisions are forced upon us by others actions, and because of that, we have no choice but to make decisions for ourselves at the same time. We may not have been expecting these changes to happen, but they do. Life holds no guarantees and there is nothing written to say that we have to agree with all the changes that life throws at us. We do have choices though. We can either accept things as they happen, gather our strength and courage and move forwards, knowing that we cannot always control what life brings our way, or we can try to stay where we are holding on to shattered dreams, while life continues to move on around us, knowing in our hearts that life stands still for no one, and that we all must move forwards eventually.
How do we say goodbye to dreams, when reality steps in and changes things for us?
It is in those moments that we realise that we must create new dreams, new realities and a new future. A future yet to be written, and one in which we now have choices that we need to make. Do we let the past hurts influence our future, or do we say “what was, was, what will be, will be” and move on knowing that we do have a say in who and what we want in our lives.
It’s the future that can make life so exciting, never knowing for sure what will happen or whom we will meet along the way. It’s a future in which we can make plans, never knowing for sure exactly how they will turn out, but knowing that we can do just about anything we set our hearts to. We have choices about who we share our future with, where we will live, where we will work, what we will do to bring love and laughter into our lives and what we will do to keep it there.
What we do with our life from this point forwards is up to us. How we deal with the “things” that life throws our way, is up to us. How we will move forwards and who we will allow into our lives, is up to us. Our future is up to us. We make those choices. Remember to make the most of what you have, tell those that you care about, how you feel. Keep love, laughter and happiness in your life, so that you can deal with the tears and the sadness when they happen, because life brings them to us also.
Remember that you have to know how to love and know how to give that love out to others, before you can expect to receive love back. For if you do not know what it is to give love, you will never know and understand what it is to receive love.
Denise Mangano 26th November 2006