Life Defining Moments
By Bart Vogelzang
© 2011 All Rights Reserved

Late December is that time of year that one gets inundated by something other than Season’s Greetings and wishes for a Happy New Year. It’s that time of year in which many of the media types just have to review the last year, ad nauseum, and make predictions for the next one, which will undoubtedly be just as incorrect as the ones made at the end of last year. However, there is something to be said for reviewing life; your own life.

I’m not talking about reviewing the last year of it, but the whole thing, from your earliest memories until now. There may be people who have never had a life defining moment (and I’m not talking about life affirming moments) but I’m pretty sure you cannot grow up without having at least one or two along the journey. It may be thrust upon you by outside sources, when someone points out some serious flaw, or a wonderful aspect, in you, but it may also be a near epiphanic moment as you come to a realization all by yourself, about yourself.

It would be easy to just list some of my own moments, but what is more important is the journey, indeed, the effort, to reach such discoveries. That some of them have happened in the distant past is sad, in a way, since it means I’m getting on in years, but conversely it also means I’ve been able to incorporate the effects over a longer period of my life, based on what I saw within me. Without an understanding of what is within, it is nigh impossible to change things for the better. Even when someone else throws an example of a ‘less than desirable trait’ at you, you still need to examine it, accept the reality into a wholesale awareness of what it means, and make any changes that can improve life for you, and those around you.

People can be manipulative and arbitrary. If you want to avoid consequences from that, you need to do it as soon as the evidence shows up, not waiting hopefully for improvements to take place all on their own. The details of my moment are not important to anyone else. Allowing myself to be forced into making a decision on something is a serious error in behavior, not the actual decision made. I learned to refuse to make decisions under duress, and it has stood me well.

Embarrassment is of your own making. Whatever happens, whether accidental or deliberate, if you feel embarrassed by it, you do that to yourself. People will often appreciate your carefree handling of a potentially embarrassing moment to the point of admiration, and conversely, ridicule you if you handle it badly. The best approach is to not allow yourself to be embarrassed, as that will almost invariably give you a better interaction with others, and absolutely a better result within yourself. Admittedly, unexpected circumstances might make this difficult to achieve.

Anger is both dangerous and counter-productive. Not only is there a lack of emotional control when you are angry, but the surge in adrenaline may well cause you to lose physical control over yourself and the situation. Walking away before you even get to a state of anger will allow you to address the problem rationally, having avoided investing too much emotion into things. Observing, then recognizing the first stages of anger is crucial, as is a plan for how to defuse such situations.

Truth is perception, and vice versa? People can only see, and therefore acknowledge, truths that are visible to them. However, seeing is more than just visual, auditory, or sensory reception, but requires the brain to process the information received, placing it into compartments, ‘folders’ if you will, which have been established over time, with past observations, experiences, and learning. Truth, by definition, is absolute, but for people, the leftover result from running the evidence through the mind’s filter, having eliminated all the preconceptions, is the truth. If the compartments aren’t there, new information will be placed, if at all, in locations that may not match the actual reality. Anything not finding a matching ‘folder’ is often rejected as evidence, or misconstrued and taken as proof of a different ‘reality’. The discovery that people ‘see’ what they want to see, or what they are able to see, is vital in knowing how to address the world around you. From clothing to hygiene, makeup to body modification, body language to the way you speak, each bit of ‘evidence’ creates an image of you in the minds of other people, and if you hope to communicate your message, whatever that may be, you must meet the requirements of visibility in the other person’s filter system or your message will be lost to them.

It is a life defining moment to discover that we are all loving sexual beings, some more so than others, but all of us in some way; but not everyone in the same way, nor at the same intensity. Upon realizing that we all feel it, there forms a sense of camaraderie, a sense of shared knowledge, which transcends both gender and orientation. We realize our humanity and feel much more inclined to be helpful to others, as being part of our human family. Those who don’t feel that togetherness have not yet realized true love, most likely having missed it in the fog of religious notions, or maelstrom of childhood abuses, or both.