My friend and I participated in a revealing conversation this weekend. We looked back over our lives and picked an especially poignant defining moment to discuss. The question posed: Knowing what we know now, would we have made the same choice during that moment?
Dictionary.com explains a defining moment as a point at which the essential nature of character of a person, group, etc., is revealed or identified. I like Dr. Phil’s definition better… it’s a bit deeper:
In every person’s life, there have been moments, both positive and negative, that have defined and redefined who you are. Those events entered your consciousness with such power that they changed the very core of who and what you thought you were. A part of you was changed by those events, and caused you to define yourself, to some degree by your experience of that event.
In simpler terms: you went in one way, something happened, and you came out another way.
My defining moment harkens back to a younger, naïve Deja Vow who put her faith and trust in Husband #1’s hands without any concrete action items to earn that level of commitment. You know how you hear about those wives who relocate for their husband’s career, end up in a new location, only to be left for another woman? That was me. My defining moment was the realization that I gave up a house, friends, career for someone who had some sugar on the side and didn’t plan on hanging in there with his current spouse. If I remember correctly, we were in the new house a total of 2 weeks before he moved out.
I heard the typical lines:
- Come to the new area, I miss you and the family
- This will be a great place for you to further your career
- Look at all the fun things there are to do
- It’s more affordable here
- How will we work on “us” if we’re so far apart?
I fell for these, hook, line, and sinker.
I don’t blame Husband #1. He didn’t write the resignation letter I handed in to my current employer. He didn’t plant the For Sale sign in the front yard of the house. He didn’t force me to sign on the dotted line when we were purchasing the new place. I did those things and so much more. That gray blob inside my noggin was filling in a lot of very big blanks with erroneous data my less-than-logical heart was feeding it.
I went in trusting, I came out skeptical. As hard as it was getting burned, I learned. I changed. I had a defining moment.
Gone was the girl who took people at their word. In her place, there was a new woman, one who insisted on seeing action items in place prior to relocating herself for anyone. The older, wiser, phoenix me would go back and smack that dreamy-eyed me in the head.
Phoenix me: What are you doing? Why are you quitting your sole source of financial freedom for a guy who has done nothing to improve your relationship?
Dumb me: This will be better for my career.
Phoenix me: You already have a career. The only person’s career you’re furthering is Husband #1’s.
Dumb me: This will be better for the family.
Phoenix me: Uprooting the kids isn’t a good thing. They are happy and comfortable in this house and with their daycare routines. Let Husband #1 live down there for a while on his own before you commit to jumping ship.
Dumb me: How are we supposed to work on our marriage if we’re so far apart?
Phoenix me: Working on your marriage? What are you, nuts? When was the last therapy session you had here? Do you have a therapist picked out there? Of course not. You’re hanging the future on hope, nothing more.
There it is. I would have never moved. I don’t know what the future would have held for me if I would have remained in my original area. I could have lost my job in the Tech Bust, I could have lost my home, the kids might have been harmed not having their dad around, but it would have been different. Dumb Deja gleefully handed my future over to someone who didn’t have my best interests in mind. Phoenix Deja knows the only one who will watch out for my best interests is me.