blogging, Community

Turning Points – Final Friendly Friday Challenge

I have reached a turning point at Something to Ponder About.

This will be the final Friendly Friday Photo/Blog Challenge Prompt. As such, it’s a salient time to reflect on our ‘sliding door’ aka turning points in life You know those moments that define decisions to act one way or another, to create new habits, to change our circumstances or to begin new paths or alter existing ones.

For some, the turning points are fraught with danger and risk. I am grateful for being a citizen of a safe and peaceful country. Others are not so lucky. Nowhere has that been highlighted more this year, than in Ukraine.

Writing a story on a humanitarian aid effort in Ukraine for a community magazine, I contacted Team Krakow, a volunteer organisation supporting refugees and people who have been displaced by the War in Ukraine. I have spoken to Russian-Ukrainians with different perspectives.

The one message I hear is that everyone just wants a peaceful life. Peace which can change in the blink of an eye, creating a monumental turning point. Our world is dynamic and unpredictable.

Getting older makes me more reflective about my life choices; the past trajectory of my working and personal life. How my life metamorphosed at significant points?

These, ‘Turning Points’ could have been vastly as important or entirely insignificant.

LAST FRIENDLY FRIDAY CHALLENGE PROMPT – TURNING POINTS

The Final Friendly Friday Challenge Prompt is ‘Turning Points.’ Interpret this literally, metaphorically, philosophically, or any way you wish.

Think back over your life and describe what springs to mind when I challenge you to post about a turning point for you. Those Sliding Doors moments.

Challenge yourself to write a poem, sketch something, write a narrative or post a story of turning points, in photos.

Here is my interpretation:

Commencing work in the health industry changed my life. Not only was I responsible for other people’s well-being and at times their life, but this turning point also coincided with me moving out of my childhood home. Starting my adult life, my own life. Being me. Having a separate identity – my own. It was momentous and at times, bewildering, exciting, daunting but mostly thrilling to be free.

Electing to stay close to home was an option, I could have continued university studies, or worked at the local shops, not much was expected of young girls in my town. I chose to move away, to expand my world; I was keen to embrace new experiences, new attitudes and freedom of choice.

australia meme voting in elections

Along with work, came the right to vote and my interest in politics. I was once a member of a political party and saw the ugly, the talented, the charismatic and the bold, in those ranks. Voting was so exciting. I had input into government and had a voice. A voice that was out of reach for some until the late 20th century.

de gray river

1984 – Hours after this photo was taken, I survived a horror car crash. A turning point if ever there was one. The crash left me alive but with a neck injury. That led me to discover yoga as a remedy for neck pain.

yoga pose peaceful
Photo credit: Pexels

Yoga became a significant part of my daily routine. It helped me face physical and mental challenges. It has been a constant throughout. Without Yoga, I would not be as healthy in mind and body. I continue to practise yoga several times a week by the beach, for free! How lucky am I? To all my Yoga teachers, I say thank you! You have been invaluable. Irreplaceable. Educational and inspirational.

A turning point in my working career coincided with meeting my husband, the M.o.t.h. (man of the house)! A good choice as it turned out. He is still around!

pool
When I was young we never wore sun-protective sun shirts like these kids

With Marriage came a family and that is surely a turning point in anyone’s life. Caring for children and their ups and downs was for me the most rewarding, heartbreaking, warm, loving, exhausting, challenging, wondrous and triggering of life’s turning points.

female writing

I have always liked to write. I am certainly no literary giant, but I did swing a job out of writing and fulfilled many, many multiple volunteer roles writing for community groups. It was and still is, a joy to write. It’s never a chore.

Starting a blog 11 years ago was one way to process difficult emotions. It healed. Without blogging, who knows what would have happened?

My WordPress Blog

Blogging has given me access to knowledge that would typically be out of reach where I live. It has fostered amazingly warm, novel and esoteric friendships. It has promoted altruistic open-mindedness in myself and hopefully in others. Its unique offerings have expanded my world paving the way for extraordinary adventures and experiences.

Norway

A lightbulb turning point occurred when I first travelled to Scandinavia. Never had I felt more at home in a land, where I suddenly belonged. The culture, language and customs resonated deeply with me. The genetic footsteps of my forefathers apparently still visible in my psyche and DNA.

Telemark Rosemaling design in blue colours
Norwegian Rosemaling

I took up Rosemaling, a vintage Norwegian art form, in a serious way; I found distant family members in Denmark; I was fortunate to stay in the most incredibly special homes and places in Sweden, Poland and the Netherlands; I took up learning the Scandinavian languages and became involved in various Scandinavian communities and activities from choir to craft to books or dancing at home. A different and wholly satisfying pathway I have gladly enmeshed myself in. Rosemaling continues to occupy a significant place in my life.

This need or desire to experience the homelands formed a base for my travels – I’ve rolled around in it, entangled myself in it and happily baked in its glory!

Tiffany Schnauzer curious look
Who could not love a Schnauzer?

Mention must be made of the role of Schnauzers in constituting a fantastic turning point. Our first was a rescue dog. Her contribution: unconditional love and support. Coupled with the typically fun adventurous spirit of a Schnauzer she was almost as precious as oxygen. A uniquely lovable distraction. Along with my Schnauzer dogs came a supportive community, priceless human friendships, endless manky beards to wash and loyalty. They have been there beside me at life’s turning points.

Sunrise with tree and picnic bench
A new home by the sea

Transitioning to retirement/semi-retirement in a home by the sea has to rate as the Number 1 significant turning point. There is no disadvantage I can see to living here. It is utterly delightful and so rejuvenating of mind, body and spirit. I highly recommend it.

A more recent and surprising turning point has been completing the 100-Day Dress challenge. Turning the tide against unsustainable fashion, lowering the carbon footprint for laundry and supporting sustainable products with ethical work practices has triggered a significant shift in my wardrobe. Sustainable minimalism and a capsulised wardrobe it turns out, are for me.

And so another turning point has arrived. The Friendly Friday Photo Challenge, started by Finnish blogger Snow and me, more than four years ago, is over.

Please join me for this last-ever prompt.

Photo by Raphael Brasileiro on Pexels.com

Thanks to Snow, Sandy, Sarah and all the guest hosts over the last four + years.

It’s been the most incredible fun.

  • Friendly Friday
  • Friendly Friday
  • Friendly Friday Photo challenge

Ciao.

63 thoughts on “Turning Points – Final Friendly Friday Challenge”

  1. Amanda, I love your reference to “sliding doors.” You had mentioned this concept and the movie by the same name on what would have happened. I am sorry you had a “horror car crash,’ but am glad you lived to tell about it. I also love that you shared your passion for yoga as I share it as well. I like the picture of you on the beach in pose. Take care my friend. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I, too, was taken by it. It’s funny how sometimes a small incident, what seems at the time to be a minor decision, can have such a profound impact on our lives. Yes, there are a few momentous decisions (like you said, family), but most of our lives seem to be shaped by those “sliding doors” moments. Certainly, turning points that can be difficult to put one’s finger on, even in retrospect. Thank you for sharing the revelation, and the journey!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks so much for your insights, E.W. I love that you also enjoyed the Sliding doors movie. Watching it and the way it was filmed still makes me recall it, years afterwards. I think a lot of people feel the same as it has entered the vernacular now as an idiom – as in, “that was a sliding doors moment.”

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you, Keith, although that beach yoga photos is not mine, nor of me, I love that you are another exponent of yoga. It has just so many benefits. One yoga teacher I had, for a short time, claimed that yoga could heal just about anything. A tall claim perhaps, but in many instances, she was right.

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      1. Amanda, I agree on the healing part of Yoga, but we also have to be mindful of our own physical limitations. Having been an athlete in various sports and running/ hiking/ walking all of my life, I have knees that are not suited to some Yoga poses, so I have to limit or avoid those. There are plenty other Yoga routines to keep me fit, though. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I hear you, Keith. I don’t like that the pigeon pose is no longer easy for me, nor is it so easy to sit cross-legged for too long. We do miss our knees when they go, so modified yogaoptions are appreciated.

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  2. You had a lot of turning points in your life. I imagine that the car accident was the scariest. I agree with your description of feelings of having a family. Having a dog must have been a nice change. I’m glad writing and blogging has helped you. You are a great writer. I have participated in a number of Friendly Friday challenges. I wish I had time for more. Thank you and the other hosts for keeping it alive for so long.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks Tanja for your heartfelt comment. I can see you relate to the feelings of family and yes the car accident was frightening. I feel like everything after that was a bonus as it could have turned out quite tragically.
      I do believe writing has therapeutic value for many who are so inclined.

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  3. You’ve said so many insightful ideas here. Thank you. I agree that blogging “…has fostered amazingly warm, novel and esoteric friendships.” I also agree that there are some dramatic turning points in my life, in everyone’s life, that mold us into who we are today. If you acknowledge you’ve changed, I feel like you live a better life. Which seems like a sane idea to me.

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    1. Hindsight is a wonderful gift to us from the past. We can learn from us or ignore it. Learning something is always preferable!
      Our past history as well as those significant turning points influences our personality, attitude and perspectives.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sad to hear FF is coming to an end! But there’s a time and place for everything. Thanks for keeping it going so long! Maybe I’ll participate as a farewell. Hope you’ll still be blogging! As for the home at sea, I don’t know which tempts me more: the sea or retirement! I’m definitely ready for both but if they increase the age for retirement, who knows how many more decades I’ll have!!! Yoga on the beach sounds amazing, too. I do free park yoga sometimes, but mostly I can’t because work meetings get in the way! Anyway, you had many turning points: I’m happy you survived that crash! Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know Snow it is a trite saying but life with a family goes by so fast and especially with twins. Before you know it, they will be finishing school and starting their own adult lives. Then you can begin to plan retirement more seriously! For now, it may be a dream. Our lives with children are so full of tasks, time blurs and passes in a flash often without our awareness. That is the beauty of retirement. Or in my case semi-retirement. There is more time to ponder, to reflect, to relax and remember. In your most frantic days, hold on to that thought for comfort! (there is that exclamation mark again).
      Thanks ever so much for starting the FF challenge with me. I would not have done it without you. I hope you do join in as that would be a fitting end. Sarah, Sandy and I are going to post some kind of tribute later this month, it would be fantastic to have you join in with that in some way if you like? Email me if so.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for starting it with me, I wouldn’t have done it without you, either! 💕 I’m feeling nostalgic right now because it feels like AGES ago! My kids were just babies then! Where did the time go? (Probably into chores, like you pointed out!)

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I am guilty of over using the exclamation point. I feel it conveys emotion. I recently learnt at my writers’ group, that in terms of publishing, one should not use one hardly at all!!!! Hah!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, Amanda and Team – Thank you so much for all of your hardwork and leadership on Friendly Friday Challenge. I have greatly enjoyed the posts and the reflection. A turning point for me was Covid lockdowns. It totally changed the course of many of my current activities and relationships

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    1. Thank you, Donna and I always appreciate your visits and salient comments.
      You are correct, Covid was a huge turning point for much of the world and changed many things forever.

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  6. Wonderful thoughts about turning points. Thanks for sharing! So glad you survived the car accident. Things like that are definitely substantial turning points.
    Writing is never a chore for me either, it is my passion.
    A retirement home by the sea! Sign me up, nto quite yet, but oh yes Often tell my husband I want a cottage by the sea when we retire. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is loads of fun planning a retirement by the sea. We spent a few years organizing it, but the planning has been worthwhile, making the transition from inner city life easier.
      Writing is an amazing activity – creative and nourishing of the soul!

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        1. The ocean, the soothing sounds of the waves are healing, I believe. The salt air is also good for the lungs. No wonder so many health retreats are located by the sea. I am not a person who likes the surf so much, more the smaller, gently waves in the bay areas – which is where I live.

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  7. Your writing is as good as it gets, and I read a lot for work and pleasure. Not everyone is capable of honesty while remaining accessible in their writing and that is why your posts are always a joy to read, even if they are about endings like this one. Turning points are difficult for me; I just had one and I’ve been trying to put a positive spin on it. It might work, who knows. I look forward to your posts in the future, Amanda. Your love for writing shines through…(on saying that, your photography is equally wonderful)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah you are kind to say those things, Sofia. Such a detailed and illuminating comment – many thanks. I am very flattered and heartened to know that my ramblings are worthy of reading.
      Thanks for being a regular supporter of Friendly Friday. My photography was not of, and would never reach, the standard set by yourself, but I did learn so much from seeing your contributions to FF.
      A negative turning point is harder to view in the positive. When I can’t find a positive angle, I sometimes think the Universe is trying to teach me to be grateful for other things…. it is still hard though. Time is a great healer and I hope with time, it will also be for whatever is happening for you, at this time. Hugs.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Life is made up of sliding doors… there are so many choices we make – some with a lot of thought and consideration, some with seeming randomness. I’m going to miss the Friendly Friday Challenge but will continue to enjoy your thoughtful posts as they enter my inbox.

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    1. Thank you, Janis. I always appreciate your regular visits and kind comments on my blog. Yes, I agree with your thoughts – much of life is a continuation of daily repetitive rituals and tasks. The turning points are the standout in life and determine the paths we tread. The best and the worst of it.

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  9. I’m at a critical turning point in my life, too, Amanda. We all go through these periods in our lives – especially as we mature – where we reflect on what was and what could have been. Please don’t give up blogging! And yes, I will always love schnauzers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for that vote of confidence in my blogging, Alejandro. I have derived immense enjoyment from our blogging conversations and I hope you continue to write too!
      Furthermore, I hope the turning point is not too arduous and takes you forward to a contented goal.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Incredible post Amanda and I enjoyed reading about the turning points in your life. You must look back in terror sometimes when you think of your accident.
    What an interesting life you lead

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel like my life is pretty pedestrian really apart I guess from Rosemaling, which is a little unusual. Apart from my younger years I been pro-active in pursuing new interests which have afforded me many experiences. I was very lucky in that car accident – we all survived, despite the car being totalled. Amazing, really. But then, you tell me about your renegade younger days and I feel sure you must have had some crazy experiences as well?

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      1. Yes you’re right Amanda, some pretty awful experiences, I’m not sure I could write about them though
        I’ve had an interesting life, fortunate enough to live in three different countries
        Australia is by far the best 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

              1. It’s quite sad really and feel sorry for all the young people. It’s getting worse as well. We haven’t been back for nearly three years because of Covid but hope to go in November. It was such a good life when we lived there and my kids have the best memories

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  11. There is so much to think about in this post. I’d like to say that I find it inspirational that you have found the positive in these sliding doors. So many people focus on the stress or difficulty when change comes, welcome or not. I’m sure you’ve had your days of that but reading through all these changes, the theme is finding the good. And that can be very hard to do.

    By the way, I believe that we as a world have surely earned the right to live in peace. I do not understand leaders that keep thrusting their people into conflicts and wars instead of finding a peaceful solution.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So great to hear my post was positive. I used to be a glass half empty person so your comment makes me think I must have made some progress. Thanks ever so much.
      As for our right to live in peace, I am unsure if it is a need or a right. I do think wars are about power, fear and greed. I read a book recently that blamed almost every conflict on geopolitical reasons.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Amanda

    Enjoyed hearing about your Turning points – many I already knew

    And really good theme for the final theme for the challenge …..
    I am now going to read the link for the dress final update
    Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes – I figured it out and you might even have later reflections after the final update post- because such a cool experience will likely lead to insights later as well!
        -//
        Hope your week is off to a nice start

        Liked by 1 person

  13. A belated response from me as I’ve combined it with my Friendly Friday wrap-up. I’ve loved working with you and Sandy and getting to know you both better 🙂 And here in this final FFC post you’ve shared more of your story which I found so interesting to read. We all have turning points in our lives, although being me I’ve taken a rather different approach to your challenge! https://www.toonsarah-travels.blog/gallery-meet-me-on-the-corner/

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  14. I loved reading about your turning points and all the good things they had brought about into your life. I am also glad you were able to find yoga for your neck pain (and survived!). Thank you for providing the blogging world with the Friendly Friday prompts. I had only joined a handful of times but have loved being welcomed into the blogging community on here and getting to be part of something here. Hoping I can put together a post in time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is no rush for a post, Sofie and I would love to read a post that you compose, given that you have recently entered a new life phase after a very big turning point.
      It was time for Friendly Friday to disappear and concentrate on other writing pursuits outside of blogging. I will continue to blog but not quite as often as previously. Your blog was also on top of my list to read!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ok, I will put together one to go out later. It’s always an interesting and nostalgic exercise to look back at your life events with this thinking in mind. I still look forward to your posts (although something weird is going on and I don’t see them in my reader). Thank you for your kind words!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Awesome, Sofie. As for the reader, I wonder if it is because I am posting way less? I notice a significant drop in the follow rate too and wondered about the reader. Try a F5 hard refresh and see if they come up. Or if they come up on a search of tags such as Friendly Friday?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I’ve put together a post and it’s been scheduled. I see your latest post in my reader so maybe it’s just the time of the day that I’m checking? You do still come up when searching Friendly Friday. These algorithms sometimes!

            Liked by 1 person

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