Turning Points

October 4, 1995


I think in everyone's life there are turning points, points at which our lives could or did take a significant new direction or was changed forever. And I think that while many such turning points are outside our control, in that things just "happen" to us, it is the turning points where we have control, where we make or not make a decision or decisions, are the most important to our lives.

Nearing the end of my second year in college, I began to become depressed.  I was about to fail two classes for the year and had poor grades in all my other classes and I began to think of myself as a failure and incapable of doing the work required and that I had let my family down.

Looking at it now, my obtaining liquor and drinking on school property and waiting the last night of the school year on my dorm room step for the duty officer to find me and expel me, was clearly an effort on my part, to punish myself for my failure to not have worked harder all year long.  I deserved to be punished and even desired it.

Luckily for me, instead of the duty officer, my roommates found me first and put me into bed for the night and I clearly remember that as I lay in a drunken stupor, I made the decision that I would not be beaten.  I could do the work and only needed to actually do it. 

Maybe that one time was the first time I had ever come to the decision point of quitting something and I could easily have chosen the path of quitting.  I have no idea what my life would be now if I had chosen that path but I am sure it would not have been as rich and rewarding.  To have accepted one failure, to have given in, to accept defeat, would have tainted me forever and like I was told just a little while after this turning point, once quitting starts, it just gets easier and easier.

Oh, there have been plenty of times since when in the middle of something I did not think I could do it and began to think of someone else who maybe could either help me or do it for me, but after these thoughts subsided, I always have managed to find a way.

Turning points.  I think perhaps it is the subtle, small ones that perhaps are the most important.  Perhaps they pave the way, for the larger decisions, “things that happen to us”.


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