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Maybe it’s because I was 18 and didn’t have the resources to handle the emotional upheaval, or it’s something that happens to everyone in times of crisis, but I have two very distinct time periods of my life: my life before Amy died, and my life afterwards.
They both happened in college, as it were – Amy died after my freshman year. When I came back to school for the first semester of my sophomore year, I felt like I didn’t quite fit back into that life.
The After Me was very different than the Before Me.
I stopped writing, quit being a music major (and colorguard), and took on more “responsible” undertakings. I changed my major to English, knowing that it would help me with the analysis required to be a lawyer, and took Latin classes to bolster it. I became the fundraising manager of the marching band and joined the percussion section.
The professor of the drumline was known for his way of breaking everything down into manageable and repeatable pieces; mastering the basics before moving on to something more challenging. For him, it was okay if you weren’t perfect, but he did expect you to work really, really hard.
From him, I learned that a constant, consistent work ethic yields results. If you want to do something – anything, break it down into small pieces, then focus and work hard, you can do anything.
Because of my experience with him, I am who I am today.
Because Amy died, I am who I am today.
This weekend, though, walking around my college campus, I could see both the Before Me and the After Me.
And it made me wonder.
What was the path NOT taken?
How different would my life have been if my cousin hadn’t died?
Would I have found my way into the life I have now anyway, because of destiny or fate?
Would I have a completely different life?
Obviously I have no answers, but the idea that one event can change the course of someone’s life so completely is fascinating to me, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since it occurred to me.
What do you think? Is there an event in your life that you can point to that altered the path you were on?