Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Remembering Life-Changing Moments on Remembrance Day

We all have periods of time in our lives upon which we look back and think, "Wow. If that event had not happened, how different my life would be." 

November 10th marks one of those life-changing dates for me. My quest to "make the most - - of every moment" and the subsequent creation of this blog may have originated from a major lifestyle change that occured for me on that date.

Why November 10th is a significant date for me:
Forty-some years ago my father, a petroleum engineer, accepted an overseas position. On November 10th, my family left our rural home just outside Calgary, Alberta, Canada to move to Spain. I remember my hesitancy to leave my friends, and my life as I had always know it.  I can still recall the excitement and wonder I felt, however, when we arrived in Europe and settled in there. Within a few months, I realized what a lucky opportunity I had been granted. That move across the globe heavily influenced the person whom I was to become, and the life that I would live. Every year on November 10th, I have thoughts of gratitude for the adventure my parents choose for us all to embark upon.

Newly arrived in Europe - weren't we quite the tourists? Check out those plaid pants!
These were the days before selfies - my dad is not pictured because he took the photo.

In mid-November, I also celebrate the anniversary of another major milestone, and a few minor ones, as well.  

Of major importance: 

Just over two decades ago this week, I acquired my most treasured role - - I became a mom! ❤️

Less significant, but hopefully the start of many years of fulfillment: 

Two years ago on November 13th, my first piece of freelance writing was published on-line. I have written something nearly every day since then.

Another milestone from years ago, that has had influence upon this blog: 

I have always loved to cook, but I might not have the confidence to blog about my recipes if it had not been for some successful Thanksgiving challenges. One example of this would be the time I offered to bake the pumpkin pies for a large Thanksgiving family gathering when I was still in college, when I was still in college, and the pumpkin pie recipe I developed then and have been making ever since. 

Of course, not all of anyone's important milestones in life occur in just one month of the year. For me, however, the second week in November and coincidentally Remembrance Day (Veteran's Day in the US) seems to be a time when I stop and appreciate the moments of my past which have shaped my future.  

November 11th. 

November 11th is Remembrance Day (Armistice Day or Veteran's Day as it is also called, depending on where you live) and it is a date designated for us to remember that our freedom has come at a price. Without the efforts of many soldiers, our lives would all be different. 

My memory of leaving Canada and arriving in London (where we stayed for a week while my dad did some work at the home office of his new company) is jumbled with flashbacks of people wearing red poppies on their lapels -  in both the country that I left, and the one to which I arrived. From this observation, I gained a global perspective I didn't have before. The 11th of November has been a day for me ever since to think about all of the lives lost to all the wars, in every country of the world.

Beyond the comfort zone.

Our first instinct as human beings is to resist and dislike change. Looking back, however, I realize that some of the scariest and at times even the least appealing moments in my life have been the ones to take me in the best directions.  This reflection provides me with a good reminder that it is important to take some risks, and get out of my comfort zone once in a while.

One year ago today,  I wrote a different post about November being a month for memories.  A number of readers shared their November remembrances in the comments. 

What memories has this triggered for you?

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  1. November 19th is like that for me. One is good and one is bad and they both happened on the same day. After being given huge doses of steroids my life changed forever because I was unable to move my arms and legs for days.The second the next day my son came home from Afghanistan, but I couldn't go to see him off the plane because I couldn't walk he had to come the hotel to see me in bed instead.

    1. I'm so glad that life has improved for you since that Nov 19th day Rena - and that your son came safely home!

  2. What a cool experience to get to see Europe as a kid! I can definitely understand the mixed emotions though! It is fun to look back through the prism of how it ended up.

    1. I was very lucky Carlee - it was a great experience. And yes, part of the fun of having memories is realizing how they all turned out!

  3. This is a great post Susan! I really enjoyed it. What a wonderful experience to move abroad when you were younger - I would have loved to do that with my boys. I still think it would be fun to live in a different country for a while. The plaid pants made me laugh - I had some very similar!

    1. There are so many wonderful places to go and see and experience, Lana - but we are both actually pretty fortunate to live now where we do!

  4. Isn't it a shame that we usually only recognise those life-changing experiences with the benefit of hindsight?
    On remembrance day I not only remember the soldiers (whatever side, whatever war) but also their families. Who also gave up a lost, and whose lives were dramatically altered, sometimes permanently.
    A lovely post. Thank you.

    1. Yes - wars certainly do have ripple effects far beyond the soldiers who fight in them. I actually hesitated to hit publish on this post; I wasn't sure it was appropriate to talk about my own remembrances on a day set aside for veterans. But then I realized, without the freedom that I have, many of those memories of mine would not exist. I'm glad you liked this.


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