I am going to go with Dipu's theme of the week, which is to describe a major turning point in my life. There have been many, but I have two closely related huge ones. The first was choosing to move to Austin to support my then-husband financially while he went back to college to get his degree.
This was undoubtedly the best choice I have ever made, and I made it for all the wrong reasons. Rather, the wrong reasons for a (healthy) marriage. But as it turned out, the healthy-for-me reasons. It was 1994, and I had been married just about 4 months when my ex decided he wanted to finish college. We were living in Bryan/College Station, Texas, where he had grown up and where I had gone to college. It was two years after I'd graduated and I was SO ready to leave. However, one of the sacrifices I'd made when I married him was agreeing to stay there because he liked living in a smallish town -- even though I've always been a city girl at heart (Red Flag Alert). So when he decided one day he wanted to go to St. Edwards, a private college in Austin, I felt a glimmer of hope: this could be my big escape! He saw it as a temporary move until he graduated, then we'd move back to BCS. Um, no. But being the "good wife" that I was, I kept my mouth shut, thinking to myself that he would get to Austin and realize how cool it was and I'd be free, free, free of small-town America Forevah!! (Red Flag Alert).
I had three job interviews in Austin and three job offers. I was a Technical Writer then. Of the three jobs, I was only torn between two of them -- one at a start-up that paid significantly more than the other one, which was at National Instruments. Though NI would pay less, I had really good vibes there. It was larger, more established, and they had a whole department of tech writers. Whereas the higher paying gig had none, and I would be the sole writer. I went with my gut and made the 2nd Turning Point decision: I chose NI. Ex was actually ok with this, because he felt safer with me working for a more established company, plus the insurance rocked. So we moved. He went to school, I went to work.
NI was life-changing for me in many ways. It was where I met all my dearest friends in Austin -- to this day we are all close. It was where I finally felt important, professional, like I belonged. I felt like a grownup. Even though I'd been a tech writer in College Station, it had just felt like an extension of college to me. This was the "real" world.
Through my new co-workers, all of us at about the same life stage, I discovered Austin and all it had to offer. I started growing. I opened my mind to new ideas that I'd never had. Ideas like, maybe there WAS a good life other than being married. Maybe the reason I felt so disconnected from my husband and uncomfortable in my marriage was because I wasn't supposed to be there. As I grew, we grew further apart. He hated that I was becoming independent. That I was forming my own opinions. I'd always just nodded along with whatever he thought, but I was finding out that he was not always right, nor did I agree with him on a bunch of major issues. He didn't like my new friends, he felt threatened. He didn't like who I was becoming, which was a Red Flag because I was becoming ME. Finally. And he didn't like the real ME. But luckily, I did.
The rest is history. I continued to grow, right out of the confines of the marriage, and almost 8 years ago we divorced. I am still here in Austin, still writing but in a different field, still surrounded by my best friends, people that understand me and respect me and have known me through the whole process. He finished school and moved to a small town with his new wife, barely a year after we split, where he still lives with his wife and two children. And people, let me say that I am SO GLAD I'm not there with him. Whenever I think that it could have been me, I physically shudder. It's not that I don't ever want to settle down or have kids; I just didn't want any of that with him. And that's okay -- we are both happier the way things are now. And yes, it did take a long time for both of us to realize that.
So, in summary: if I hadn't moved to Austin and taken the job at NI, who knows where I would be, or with whom. And I would rather be single and childless forever than married to the wrong man.
Things usually work out the way they're supposed to, thank the heavens and all that is holy.