There are quite a few defining moments in my life where I distinctly remember having the realization that my life was forever changed. The fulfilment of a dream, a birth in the family, the death of my parents, when I got the keys to my first apartment, the day after graduation, or when the letter from my insurance company came authorizing my gender reassignment surgery. I recall the bitter sweetness of the “now what” feeling as it sat growing in the back of my throat waiting for my brain to send instructions on what to do next. So much time is spent planning, dreaming, and wanting for certain conditions and circumstances. And then it happens… Change.
I spent so much time planning my first wedding and I knew that it was going to last forever, so when my ex and I decided to part ways after 7 years, separation became real and not just a concept we thought I could avoid with prayer and wishful thinking. Just like we planned for the arrival of my nephew, and shortly after he was born, he and his mom (my younger sister), came to live with us. The first time his cry woke us in the middle of the night, the responsibility of his life became more real to me. He is almost 8 and hasn’t lived with me for years but I haven’t slept the same or thought about life the same since then.
The defining moments…
At first, it seems, nothing changes and things feel the same as they did before. When I turned 21 I didn’t feel any differently than I did when I was 20 just days prior. But then I turned 22, and 23, and 27, and 30…and somewhere along the way I realized that I was in fact no longer a child. This realization didn’t happen because of one particular event or circumstance; reality set in when I discovered how different things had become.
Do you remember the first time you realized that your happiness was your own responsibility? Or what about the first time you felt guilt, overwhelming ecstasy, regret, personal conviction, or determination? When the severity of life’s circumstances and the magnitude of your existence becomes so much that you feel compelled to act, it’s safe to say, “it just got real”. Step outside of yourself. Examine things closely. Is your reality what or how you intended it to be? Live into who you are and embrace what is happening around you as an opportunity.