Bits 'n' Bites on crossroads

Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

The crossroads of our lives

By Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair
True North Perspective

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more

Image: Detail of photo of Alberte Villeuneuve-Sinclair1 May 2016 — There are moments in our lives where we find ourselves at a crossroad, afraid, confused, without a roadmap. The choices we make in those moments can define the rest of our days.

Have you ever given any thought to the pivotal moments of your life, the ones that had a major impact on you and the ones that were life-altering? I took the time to explore these crossroads while on vacation in Barbados.

  Image: Photo of the author, Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair at the launch of her first novel. Provided by the author.

In his book, Self Matters, Dr. Phil McGraw proposes an exercise where he invites readers to examine ten defining moments of their lives, seven critical choices and five pivotal people that helped shape them. I decided to share a few items with you in the event that you would be interested in examining the experiences and the people that have shaped your life.

Defining moments “shape our internal behaviours and determine the feelings and reactions we have to the inevitable stresses we encounter throughout life.” Dr. Phil suggests we divide these experiences along time frames starting with early childhood.

I definitely gave credit to my paternal grandfather as a pivotal person who influenced me at a young age. He taught me to be brave. I will always remember the day I dropped my doll down the staircase that led to the dark, dank basement. I was crying, afraid to go downstairs. He convinced me to let go of fear. I did!

Another wonderful influence was my first grade teacher, a soft-spoken and caring lady. She made me love school. Unfortunately, my sister and brother were not as lucky. They started school with a tyrannical teacher who frightened my sister and picked on my brother. Since ours was a country school, we had to endure her tyranny for a few years. Teachers have such a huge influence on children because they spend a lot of time with them. When that teacher left, she was replaced by Mrs. Duchesne who invited me to help younger pupils with reading and math while she taught the middle grades. This is how my love of teaching developed. I knew in my heart I wanted to teach.

She sent me to the “Concours de français” in grade 8. I wasn’t aware that I had a special gift for languages; our parents never expressed pride in what we did. We were to work hard and expect nothing in return so success came as a huge surprise! I won in almost every category for girls. One of the gifts I received was a small blue suitcase and the master of ceremony hinted that I would go far with that blue suitcase. Imagine the joy I felt when I also won at the second contest. All of a sudden, my parents showed pride and invited relatives to come and see my trophies and prizes. Although I lost the third contest by only a fraction of a point, I was so proud. I could see new possibilities.

In high school, I won public speaking contests two years in a row. I became an avid student of life, searching for more teachers, whether they came in the form of books or persons. From student to real teacher, I enjoyed the journey!

When life put me through the grinder in my twenties, my wonderful colleague and dear friend, Rachel, offered support and made me realize how far I had come and what I had to offer. In my thirties, I focused on my new life, my beautiful daughter and … wrote my first novel. I used that wonderful gift that had been bestowed on me to firstly dispel the sense of hurt and betrayal, find my voice, and then share with my readers. Art has this therapeutic and spiritual value that makes it all worthwhile.

“Life is like a piano, what you get out of it depends on how you play it.”


Image: Inspirational quote by Tony Robbins over scene of road on prairies. Via, provided by the author.

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