At the ripe age of 50 I have lived a very full life and feel it’s been a good life. I have had many interesting and formative experiences, was lucky enough to have been brought into this world by a wonderful couple who provided me and my four younger siblings with a stable, loving and nurturing home. And I am still lucky to have that entire biological family with me and as active participants in my life today.
I see my life thus far as having been lived to this point in “chapters”. Each chapter represents a period of time along the time-line of my life, during which I was a person living life within in the boundaries of what I knew at that time. The chapters go something like this: Childhood, Adolescence, 20’s, 30’s, 40’s…etc. And I am just beginning my venture into the Chapter 50’s. Now of course, the history I have gleaned from each of the previous chapters carries with me into the next chapter and forward, for one cannot “change” history as it becomes “part” of who we “are” and how we define ourselves on this very day we are in now. It is the “defining moments” that happen within each of those chapters that I believe give each of us our very core definitions.
“Defining Moments” are those individual blips on our internal radar screens where something very specific happens to us or in our lives; moments that change us in some little – or big – way forever forward. They are those moments such that happen out of the blue, but change you sometimes in immeasurable ways, like the moment I first fell in love the very first time and felt those big bad butterflies in my stomach, or the moment that I learned I was HIV positive – life changed in that single second in ways I still cannot explain or put into words today. THOSE are the moments that can raise us to the heavens or bring us to our knees; the instances where our heart skips a beat and we forget to breathe just for a second. In our very next breath we are someone “different” from who we were 2 seconds prior. That is my definition of a “defining moment”.
Our life “chapters” happen in much more gradual ways. They are the historical foundation under our feet, the ways we learn to walk, talk, and “be” in each of our own unique ways. Chapters encompass time periods where we choose to investigate the many angles of living lives. We color our hair because it’s all the rage, wear bell-bottoms and tye-dyed t-shirts and attend Motley Crue concerts that make us deaf later in life.
Now, a “defining moment” CAN and generally DOES trip up a historical journey. Example is that I was a pretty hard partying 30 year old lesbian in a tumultuous relationship, in which I thought I was happy, had a good job and was pretty much strolling through life as one does when the “defining moment” of hearing someone say to me “You are HIV+” rang in my ears. THAT single moment; that single sentence, and that very instant in time CHANGED me in profound ways. It derailed the train ride through my 30’s like a rocket propelled grenade. It stopped me dead in my tracks and spurned one hell of a life change, which in turn changed the path of history that I may have taken had that moment not happened.
I do not refer to that particular moment in my life as anything but a simple reference here, using only because I feel it’s a very poignant example of the true “defining moment” as I understand it in my life. It caused me to change in so many ways, and I am grateful for having my eyes truly opened on that day and for the life I have been privileged to live ever since. And it probably saved my life, if the truth be known. Today I live happy and healthy – just with HIV as my no-so-welcome, partner in history.
I have had many other “chapters” and “moments” that have formed me, defining me as who I am today. Life is to be savored and enjoyed; to be lived to it’s fullest and finest. It’s for each of us to grab hold of and hang on for the ride, to learn, grow and make our individual marks on the world, and on history. Each of us plays a very specific part, our part. (To be continued)
Here is a link to my Youtube vlog about this blog and subject that I just did as well.