You don’t have to be writing a memoir to want to tell about the turning points in your life. Sharing those big decisions is a great way of telling the story of how you got to where you are on your journey.
You don’t have to have walked on burning coals to get to your current location for your account of life’s turning points to matter to your loved ones. They may face similar forks in the road in their own lives. Knowing how you made your choices will strengthen connections. Perhaps your story will help other family members figure out their own dilemmas.
On the other hand, you might have to do a little introspective work to parse out those moments. As Research Digest’s article, Your life story is made up of transitions and turning points–do you know the difference?, explains, a turning point “can be an internal decision or change of emotion or attitude,” and thus “not be immediately obvious to others, or even to ourselves at the time.”
Career Turning Points
Many people I know, myself included, aren’t practicing the profession in which they started out. Explain how you decided to change careers. Was it serendipitous or was it a hard-fought decision? Was it a compromise or were you following your heart? Did you have to go back to school? Do you have any regrets? What benefits have you reaped from the change? Was there a catalyst to this turning point? How did your decisions affect the rest of the family?
For some people, it’s not a strict either-or proposition. Some vocations, such as voice, theatre, woodworking, etc., also lend themselves to avocations. Is there something that doesn’t earn you much money but yet makes your heart sing? Write about how you found your focus.
Relationship Turning Points
Sadly, we often neglect to share these heart-gripping stories with younger generations. They only see what we are now and can’t imagine us young and in love. Giving a glimpse to other stages of our life solidifies our relationships.
You can write about how you decided with whom you were—or were not—going to spend your life. When you knew you were—or weren’t—in love. Did you have a relationship that prepared you for the person you were later going to meet? Was there a turning point in a serious relationship at which you just had to throw in the towel? Write about these turning points and how you found your way.
Family Turning Points
Did you have a hard time leaving home or have you decided to return to take care of aging parents? Was there a definitive turning point in that decision-making process? What prompted a decision to (not) start your own family?
Other family turning points include geographic moves, adoptions, life-style choices, and school decisions. What’s your family’s story?
Following Your Dream Turning Points
I remember giving up ballet at 12 years old because having to wait three more years to get into toe-shoes was just too much! I wish I’d stuck with it just a little longer.
If you were an athlete, when and how did you decide to hang up your cleats, skates, or whatever footwear is related to your sport? How committed were you to your sport? Did you slowly disengage or was high school graduation a turning point? Did you continue to play sports in college or try (or succeed) to go pro? Was there a time when sport became work?
These stories of pursuing versus giving up on dreams are important and poignant because they are metaphors for so many other things in our lives. Knowing when to persevere and when to change priorities isn’t always easy. Share the story of how you figured out the roadmap to your life.
Other Turning Points
We’ve only scratched the surface, but you’ve got the idea by now. Perhaps you’ve had may have had turning points of faith or sexuality. More importantly, perhaps you’ve had made a decision to break away from the family mold.
Was there an event or series of events that changed the focus of your life? Perhaps something influenced you to take up a cause. Was there a turning point that brought you to (or forced you into) a decision? On the other hand, your story might be about why you’re content.
I’d love to hear your ideas, too. What turning points have you written about? Which ones do you plan to write about?