Happy Friday, dear readers!
In the movie Sliding Doors, the shape of Gwyneth Paltrow’s life is hinged on one simple event: whether or not she catches the train home. Most of us will never know how many minuscule incidents are altering our existence, but the big life-changers are easier to spot.
For this week’s writing exercise, tell me about an event or incident that changed your life in some way. It can be anything, big or small. Did you realize it was life-changing at the time? Did it change your life for better or worse? Would you go back in time and handle things differently if you could?
As for me, the event that changed my life in an insurmountable way was entering a writing contest when I was in Grade 11. The Canada Safety Council wanted essays, stories, or artwork with an anti-drunk driving message, and my class was required to enter a piece of writing. Everyone else wrote a statistical essay, but I went with fiction and wrote the story of a teenage boy reeling after a house party. He let his friend leave the party impaired and drive home, and when the story opens, the boy has just learned that his friend died in a car accident as a result. Pretty powerful stuff. This is the story I received the applause for.
When I won the contest, I was excited, but I had no idea how much it was going to change my life. The winning writers and artists were flown to Ottawa to receive an award and attend a special conference. I met my first serious boyfriend at this conference–a moody artiste from the small town of Thompson, Manitoba.
Until I met him, I fully expected to attend university in Calgary, Alberta, the home of my extended family. Our relationship changed everything. He convinced me to move to Manitoba, and for some reason, I felt drawn to Winnipeg. Whenever I visited this city, I felt like I was supposed to be here. I couldn’t explain it.
Journalism was my only option in Calgary, but in Winnipeg they had a program that taught advertising, journalism, and public relations, so that’s where I enrolled. I liked that it gave me more options, and my schooling certainly came in handy when journalism became unstable and I had to switch to public relations.
The guy I met in Ottawa also drastically effected my health and well-being, which in an odd way led me to kickboxing, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.
It’s incredible to think that–if not for writing that one little story–I wouldn’t know any of the people who have become my friends and family in Manitoba. I would never have worked at the Museum, or The Winnipeg Free Press. I wouldn’t own the same home, or even have the same cats. Talk about a life-changer!
Your turn! What changed your life?