I am reading a series of books about a Scottish Higlander in the 1700s and a time traveling woman from 1945. Weird romance, what with the time traveling, but a very good series.

In the latest book, there have been a few times that the author described a moment as “one of those times that the world stood still and everything was seen with great clarity.”  Similar to that, anyway. That when a moment occurs and you don’t know how or why or when, but everything is perfect and right. A sunset. Or during a family gathering. Or even just the quietness in an office building late at night. And it’s forever stamped on your memories.

I can remember moments like that. The last conversation I remember having with my grandad. I think I was about 8. The last conversation I had with my own father on the phone before he died. April 13th, 1999, sitting outside on a balcony drinking a beer with a friend and looking at downtown Dallas at midnight and thinking how pretty it was and how much I didn’t like tax season. They just stick, for some reason.

There are also times that I can look back on and see that a moment was defining and I didn’t realize it. But as I grow older, I can recognize when those defining moments are getting ready to happen again. They’re life-changing moments, no matter how small they may seem at the time, and they almost always involve changing my way of thinking, or determining that I am still on the right path.

When it comes to deciding what it is you’re meant to do with your life, I find that it’s hard to change paths. Should you be content with leaving things as they are?  Or is that “settling?”  Is doing something completely opposite to the path you were on a good thing?  Or are you changing just to do something and ruffle feathers?

I have a defining moment coming up. It will absolutely determine my future, in terms of my career, and my family. There’s happy and then there’s happy, and I’m not sure which version I want. One means staying the course and knowing that things will stay the same, but it has a benefit of having a lot of freedom. The other means exchanging one kind of stress for another, but having much less freedom and many more challenges that are unknown. And the answer comes down to – how tolerable is something and can I change my attitude about it to make it work?

Here’s what I know. I want to make a difference. I want to look back at my life and know that I did something good. Something that mattered. It doesn’t need my name on it, but it should be something that I can take a quiet, internal pride in and know that it made a difference. How do you know when what you’re struggling with is what your goal is?

I suppose you can’t know, until you reach another defining moment in time.


About Michelle Barton

Things I find myself asking or saying in everyday life.
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