Defining Moments

I think it was Dr. Phil who introduced me to the term “defining moment.” Sorry, Doc. I’m borrowing your term for my blog.

My definition of a defining moment is an occurrence in your life that ultimately changes the course of your personal history. The funny thing is most of the time you don’t recognize those defining moments until years or decades later.

I can think of two big ones in my life.

The first one was going after a job at Lowry’s Western Shop. At the time, I had been out of high school for a year. I was working as an EMT at the local ambulance service, a job that paid just a little more than nothing. My mom kept hounding me to “get a job.” Lowry’s had recently opened a real store after operating out of the family’s basement for years. I became one of their very first employees who was not a family member. What made this little retail job where I spend most of my earnings right there in the store a defining moment was the guy who came in and picked up the sales girl (me). Within a few years became my husband.

Another defining moment tracks back to my decision to breed my Quarter Horse mare, Jenny. I loved that mare, but she was getting on in years and I wanted to replace her with her own offspring. That decision produced a colt I named Windstar. I was there in the stall when he was born. I took him for “trail walks” before he was even weaned. He was my future trail horse. Or so I thought.

Then came the day he bucked me off and nearly broke my neck. (Maybe that was the real defining moment. But getting thrown was not a decision I made, so I’m going back to the decision that created the colt that bucked me off.) One thing led to another. I sold my baby after he fractured my cheek bone and before he could break something worse. I never found a satisfactory replacement for Jenny and she finally died several years later at the age of 24.

Within two years, I was out of the horse business. I wandered through various occupations and hobbies before settling on yoga which helped me reconnect with my creative energy which brought me back to my childhood passion for writing.

I really believe that if Windstar had not bucked me off and injured my back, I would never have found yoga to ease that pain. Would I have eventually rediscovered writing? Good question. I don’t have an answer.

But just to show that the universe has a sense of humor, my writing has brought me back to riding. I don’t ever plan to own another horse. I think I’d have to move out. My husband, the one I met at Lowry’s, has no interest in rebuilding fences and baling hay anymore. But my time spent at the track researching my novel and now occasionally taking a friend’s horse out on the trail fills the void.

I wonder what my next defining moment will turn out to be. Maybe I don’t want to know.

Think back over your life. Can you trace back to a few defining moments of your own?

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