What was the one experience that completely changed your life? What happened? How did it change your life?
I’ve had a lot of experiences in my life, most haven’t been “life changing” in the really big meaning of the phrase. All of the experiences I have had have led me to this point today and no doubt further experiences will open up new paths to explore.
But I suppose in anyone’s life there are moments that flip you out of your canoe and send your paddles sailing off downstream without you and you must then learn new ways of navigating this treacherous river called Life. Being born, going to school for the first time, heading to University, first love, loves lost, deaths, new job, new career.. the list of things that can change us and mould us is endless.
School was a life-changer for me. I went from being a happy, bubbly child into a quiet, subdued comfort-eater from playground teasing. I won’t call it bullying simply because it was nowhere near the scale of bullying that one now sees around the globe leaving teenagers in such depths of despair that they see no way forward and ultimately surrender their lives. But it did change me and it has followed me through my life so far. I went through my teen years on crash diets that never worked, never satisfied and left me in a worse state mentally and physically. Being referred to a dietician who was herself the size of a large bull walrus didn’t really inspire me to follow her diet sheet. And so I am fat. Not unhappily fat, I accept myself in my current state and accept that I want to change this factor of my life. I don’t envisage ever becoming a size zero but I do want to be healthier and so have, through many years of torment and research, found myself eating healthily for the first time and with an understanding of food and how it affects me. It’s a long process and I might not reach my favoured goal but I am trying, and I am doing it because I want to, not because the skinny girl group pulled my hair or the boys called me names or people in the street think I am dumb. I have had depression all of my life since that first skinny girl called me fatty but the experiences along my journey down this river without a paddle have furnished me with the strength to fight every day to become a happier and healthier version of me.
So. can one experience completely change your life? Maybe. I think we all hit eddies and whirlpools along the river that change our direction and make us lose one or more paddles and have experienced that myself, but perhaps, just perhaps, we may hit a tidal wave coming at us from downstream that lifts us out and dumps us, out of our canoe, without a paddle, maybe we then get stuck in the flotsam and jetsam and eventually drown or perhaps we get swept to the riverbank and find a brand new canoe complete with paddles and a lifetime guarantee or maybe someone happens to float nearby with a life-preserver that they choose to throw to you. Either way, all we can do is go with the flow.