What are your “before’s” or “afters?”

I think we all have these moments when we’re thinking of something, we think, that was “before” or “after” a major turning point in our lives. You know, you think of your childhood and you’re trying to recall when something happened and you think this was “before” that. Or you may think “after” that.

I have a few. In my childhood I always categorize everything in my head with “before” my parents divorce. Everything so drastically changed after that. So it was my first major turning point. A road marker so to speak.

I’m not going into anything of these points in my life in any detail. Those who know me know what I’m talking about and I’m not baring my soul like that. And besides, I’m sure it would be boring to others.

In my adult life it was “after” what “someone” did to the business.

Then it was when I went to Canada and when I came back.

Now of course, everything is “before I got sick.”

I’m not counting my marriages or children because I don’t feel they were a “before or after” deal. I felt having them was just a natural part of life. I have tended to mark things by sadness or extreme change. Is that weird?

How many “before” and/or “afters” do you have? If you feel like it, you can share them.

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16 Responses to What are your “before’s” or “afters?”

  1. SKL says:

    Hmm, let’s see.

    1) When my family moved from the big city to the small village. I was going on 12. I went from a Lutheran K-8 to a public 7-12, which was a pretty big change. Our lifestyle became so much more laid back and community-oriented. My kid sister was born that summer too, and I happily took on as much responsibility for her as I could.

    2) When I started college. I was 16 and most of my classmates were much older, since it was a regional campus (mostly non-traditional students). I also started driving that year.

    3) When I started law school. I moved to the dorm and discovered real academic competition for the first time. I lost myself in the nearby museums, world-class orchestra, and old libraries. I had my first real, real crush that year.

    4) When I met the person who would become my lifelong best friend. I learned about very different cultures, about thinking from the perspective of more than just myself, about synergy and valuing my unique strengths. I started my MBA that year and found (to my surprise) what I was “really” good at. I had my first experiences with travel, which would become a lifelong love. I chilled out about a lot of things, moved into my first (shared) apartment, bought my first (very old) car.

    5) My first “permanent” full-time job. It was in educational product development for a small international toy company, but when the accountant gave his notice, I took over his job and became the controller and lawyer for the company. Pretty soon 8 people were answering to me and I reported to the president. Within 2 years I learned so much. Then I quit because the owner’s son-in-law (a creep) was being groomed to take over anything I might aspire to.

    6) My second “permanent” job. This was in a “big 4” accounting firm, in taxes. My first 10 months were horrible (I was all but fired), but then I was rescued by international tax, which for a while was about as close to Nirvana as I may ever be professionally. But all good things must come to an end – they fired my dear boss and I carried a lot of his baggage with me after that.

    7) My daughters’ adoption. International adoption opened a whole new world of knowledge and emotions. I discovered some Internet resources and pretty soon the Internet became a good and bad daily habit (which it still is). The girls came home when I was 41, an interesting age to start parenting a couple of infants. I also started a new career around the same time, joining an entrepreneurial business with my best friend.

    So that is my life story, and looking at it like that makes me wonder with some trepidation what turning point #8 will be . . . .

  2. SKL says:

    I should add in #6 that that was also when I bought my house and started dating in my most “serious” relationship so far.

  3. Ellen says:

    Wow, this is a great question, Both Joy and SKL, what a wonderful way to describe your turning points.

    Mine were:
    1) When I first married. Becoming a wife and not only the daughter of…..
    2) Becoming a mom of my first child. A big change/turning point.
    3) The death of my parents on a young age.
    4) My struggle and realization of being a person who is worthily, unique, like any other person.
    5) My divorce, learning to be independent.
    6) Marring an American, coming to this country and feeling, yes, I belong here.

  4. mssc54 says:

    Before Hurricane Hugo.

    Before/after Buddy was KIA in Afghanistan.

    Those are the MAJOR ones.

  5. lucy says:

    Before/after my family moved from Europe to the States (I was 14)

    Before/after college..

    Those are my major one’s that really defined me.

  6. Karen Joy says:

    Before/after my parents died(this one really feels like 2 different lives)
    Before after/ I got sick and had to stop working.

  7. starlaschat says:

    Before when I lived with my family/after I moved out on my own. Before I moved to Montana/ and after I moved to Montana. Probably waitress/and after working as a waitress.

  8. Laura says:

    Excluding the “regular life events”, like getting married, having a baby, buying a house, etc., the single most defining moment of my life has been The Wreck. It showed me that I have way more mettle and strength than I ever thought I had. It has so profoundly changed my life, who I am… every day, it seems, I find out something new. And not all of it is good.

  9. SKL says:

    I was thinking after I posted, that if I had any “really big stuff” in my life story, I would have fewer before/afters. Reading others’ comments, that seems to be the case.

  10. Just a Mom says:

    Before/After my mom died when I was 26.
    Before/After I quit drinking and smoking 3 years ago.

  11. I can definitely understand you not wanting to open old wounds here, Joy – but I just want you to know that I don’t think it would bore anyone if you did feel you wanted to. *Hug*

    I think you’re absolutely right – that we think of things in terms of before/after events. I never thought about it like that, but as I read, I started thinking about things and realizing that I do it too. I think we all must do it.

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