Our Experiences Define Us

“If I had experienced different things
I would have different things to say.”
Mark Nepo

Boy, doesn’t that ring true for us all? We are defined by our actions as well as the actions of those around us. Some of this we control, some of it is out of our control. We cannot control the upbringing we were raised in. Those are the years that often define us, at least through much of the first half of our lives. But we make choices, based upon those years. If we didn’t care for our upbringing, we may decide to do things very differently. Some of us leave town, leave the family, leave our past behind. Some of us stay emeshed in that upbringing by never leaving the family. Some of us choose to be the black sheep of the family. We make choices about whether we want to be a victim or not.

But even still, we had those experiences, and they defined us in some way.

Growing up without a father, I will often say that the rose-colored glasses came off early for me. My dad died when I was 8 years old, and I was raised by a single mother from that moment forward. I experienced great pain and loss from that young age. It affected my trust in others, as I didn’t know that I could count on them to be there for me when I needed them. My mother did the best she could, raising us. I can’t fault her for that. At least not now. But there was a time when I judged her parenting, and it did define my own parenting skills.

I often wonder if I would have been attracted to the same man I married, had I grown up with a father. Would I have been hanging out with the same people? Would I have been attracted to a man who loves to hunt and fish, as my dad did? Would I have been attracted to a man who was older than me?

My experiences growing up define who I am today. I have no regrets, but I can’t help but wonder.

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