A moment in time that changed your life

This relates to another thread going right now. I am looking to see if patterns emerge. My first thought was that I have had many but after reflecting on it for a while I can trace most back to one particular instance.

Going out for a sunday hike in a local field I saw a couple with a german shorthaired dog. Recent rains had left large puddles around the field and the dog was just in heaven running through these fields as fast as he could generating a large spray of water. Everyhting was just right, the grass was green, the air was cool and the scene was just exhilerating. I went home and told my wife about this dog and come Christmas morning I woke up to a little puppy licking my face. 

  The series of events that followed changed the course of the rest of my life.

Love the story, HoneyBadgerDC. :slight_smile:

It’s cliched, but for me, that moment was definitely when my oldest daughter was born (and reaffirmed with the next daughter’s birth). I have never so quickly realized that my life had changed forever, and for the better, in so many serious, scary, yet wonderful ways.


Well, I didn’t want to write a book here but to try and condense it a bit. It was my first relationship where I was responsible for the physical and emotional well being of another living creature. The rewards far exceeded my expectations.

It exposed me to worlds I only knew from books, field trials, bird hunting, out door trips etc. 

 My success with my dog reaffirmed that I was not stupid and that my theories and methods were based on sound logic that results confirmed.

 For the first time in my life when I talked people listened, It taught me to make sure I knew what i was talking about to maintain this status. 

 I learned a new patience for things that didn't go my way and I learned a new form of communication that didn't involve speech. 

 I found out I really was a social human being and not a hermit, I could go on and on.

Mine is easy. When I committed to play football at CSM and turned down the offer to UC Davis. If I’d gone to Davis I’d be a farmer back in California. Without that my sister and I would be married to different people and my parents and our families wouldn’t be living in Colorado.

When I talked on the phone to my brother’s roommate (who I am not even sure I’d met in person at that point) and he asked if I could be the HTML person for a little business he wanted to start.

I was in college then, probably 1998, in journalism school. I finished my degree but kept doing work with him and now 16 years later we’re still making this stupid business work.

A couple of mine are related to being in the right place at the right time…

Skipped a training course and attended a meeting that I was curious about, but was not formally invited to. Ended up with the a significant responsibility for an acquisition that our company was involved with…which was the springboard for my career over the last 15 years.

Had a meeting cancelled which resulted in me showing up early to another meeting where I met the woman that is now my wife and mother of two of my kids. Strong possibility if my first meeting had not been cancelled, that she and I may not have met.

The decision to work full time and not return to college after my first semester. Otherwise, I would not have met my wife - at least not under the circumstances that we diid - because I would have been back at school.

Mine is a little dark and about a literal moment. A friend of mine was killed by a drunk driver when I was in 8th grade. She was in the car with her family leaving to go on a trip. She unbuckled her seatbelt for a second to reach down and get something on the floor - the drunk driver weaved over at that moment and struck the car. She was killed instantly, the rest of the family walked away. I wrestled with that moment for a very long time (still do, every once in a while). What if they had started their trip 1 minute later? What if they had hit a red light on the way? etc. etc. etc.

Anyway, that event prompted me to hate all drunk drivers and to not drink alcohol of any kind. Not drinking while growing up, I think, definitely had a major impact on my friendships and the kind of socializing I did. It’s hard to quantify precisely the effect but I think it’s been large. (Of course, the effect on me is miniscule in comparison to her family, but that’s for a different thread).

June 1954. About to graduate from HS, no scholarships and no money (need-blind admission was for the far future). I was good enough to be admitted to several schools, but not good enough to get any scholarship. Looking for a summer job, I answered an ad. Called to an interview, I was told that this was not a summer job; it was a program of being employed full time as a technician in a lab at a major university while pursuing a degree as a part-time student that would take five years. This worked by taking 3 courses each regular term and 1 each for the two summer terms, meaning 8 courses per year instead of 10. I jumped at the chance and it changed my life.

Did you roll and play in the mud puddles with the dog?

I met a Puppy as I went walking.
We got talking, Puppy and I.
“Where are you going this nice fine day?”
I said to the Puppy as he went by.
“Up to the hills to roll and play!”
“I’ll come with you, Puppy!” said I.
– A. A. Milne

I’ve got two:

  1. I remember that when I was in the second grade, i was told by my parents that they were getting divorced and i had to decide which one of them i wanted to live with. 2nd grade me certainly had no idea what an impactful decision i was about to make…

  2. I was living with my stepsister and we had rescued a cat. it has a respiratory infection when we first got it so we couldn’t get it spayed right away. this cat was found in an abandoned home and really loved being around people when brought it home… most personable cat i’ve ever been around. eventually it was healthy enough to get the surgery. we brought it home and it never really seemed to recover from the anesthesia (at first we chalked it up to her just being small). Then, on Easter sunday she died. I ate easter sunday ham with my family that night, and it was was the last time i ever ate meat. That was 8 or 9 years ago, i can’t remember what year it was, but it was March 27.

That is terrible. And yes, the second-guessing such a moment would lead to is too much to think about.

Mine was just ballsiness - I was graduating from college in CA with a degree in Computer Science. Silicon Valley was going through a big slump so no one was hiring or even coming to campus except for 3 companies - Lawrence Livermore Labs, VLSI and Hewlett Packard. My GPA was almost a half-point below HP’s requirements - long story, but I enjoyed college ;).

So, I went to HP’s pre-interview reception, walked straight up to the lead guy there - I still remember his name - and said “look, HP is going to hire me - we just have to figure out how to get past this pesky GPA issue.” He laughed and asked me about it, I was truthful, and ended up getting on the interview schedule and was one of only three folks they hired that year from my University of California campus.

I still can’t believe it worked.

There’s been quite a few. One that I’m willing to share in public would be the time when I quit doing crystal meth along with all other hard drugs. I gave away my stash to a fellow “tweaker”, who immediately broke down in tears – looking back, it was probably because she saw I had the willpower to quit cold turkey, but she couldn’t.

I wonder sometimes about those people I knew from way back then…wonder what they are doing right now.

Linky to Dope post.

Very long story short, I walked out my back door, immediately encountered the most spectacular wild bird on the continent, and the rest, as they say, is history. Changed me, healed me, utterly altered the course of my life.

Great story!

There’s a bit of backstory, sorry about that.

So a) I had applied to law school and had yet to receive an acceptance. b) I had been working on this farm, where I did morning chores in exchange for rent on the farm cottage, and taught lessons for cash. Their summer camp would start in the 3rd week of June, so after that my chore job was ended. I asked them if they would take half rent for June, because I couldn’t pay the balance of the rent in cash, but they refused (choosing instead to pay me in cash for the final two weeks), so I moved out the first of June to stay with some friends.

I also had this other job in the afternoon/evening working in a deli/ice creamshop/bar/organic grocery, that was closer to the farm than my friends’ place where I was staying.

This was in the south so by mid-June it was already fairly hot. So what I would do is I would bring a change of clothes and a towel, and after finishing my chores I’d go into my recently-vacated empty cottage, take a shower and put on clean clothes to work at the deli. This would take, maybe 15 minutes.

So I was coming out of the shower and the phone rang. Huh, I thought, they didn’t cancel the phone service yet, maybe its a riding client who doesn’t know I moved. When I picked up the phone it was a law school calling to offer me a spot, and a academic scholarship worth 75% of tuition.

So then I moved back to the NE city I grew up in, went to law school, got married, became a lawyer, got a job, paid off my loans and stand before you, that rarest of creatures, 2009 law graduate with a job and no debt.

When I think about the millions of ways I could have not gotten that call, it kind of freaks me out. If I had put an extra load of saddle pads in the washer. If one of the horses came in with a boo-boo that needed cleaning. If I was still in the shower when the phone rang. If the law school called a week later. If the phone had been disconnected. etc. etc. Absolutely everything in my life would be different if I hadn’t been there to pick up the phone that day.


When I think about the millions of ways I could have not gotten that call, it kind of freaks me out. If I had put an extra load of saddle pads in the washer. If one of the horses came in with a boo-boo that needed cleaning. If I was still in the shower when the phone rang. If the law school called a week later. If the phone had been disconnected. etc. etc. Absolutely everything in my life would be different if I hadn’t been there to pick up the phone that day.

Very cool story!

I remember after I hung up the phone I had to sit down because I got shaky with adrenalin thinking about it how my life had just unfucked itself by purest chance.

In college, a friend of mine asked me to help her do layouts for the college yearbook. A year later I was the layout editor. A few years later I moved to NYC with no money, and the most recent yearbook as my portfolio. I got a job as a “paste-up” artist in one day. After 2 months I was Art Director, then Type Director, then Creative Director of an ad agency. Now, I’m a full-time artist.