Watershed Moment

The original usage of the word “watershed” describes a ridge of land separating waters that then flow into two different bodies.

A “watershed moment” is a turning point, the exact moment that changes the direction of an activity or situation, a dividing point from which things will never be the same. It’s considered momentous, though a watershed moment is often recognized in hindsight.

I’m not ready just yet to share my watershed moment, but I recently experienced one. It was momentous and didn’t occur in hindsight.

When was your most recent watershed moment?

© lauriebuchanan.com

38 thoughts on “Watershed Moment

  1. When I realized I had been emotionally abused for three years. I stopped caring for someone who didn’t care for me, and I met someone who does.

  2. Talk about leaving us with a cliffhanger, Laurie! 🙂

    Not sure I have any recent watershed moments. One that happened 12 years ago: I dared go on a solo canoe trip despite all my trepidation and not only found that I could handle the psychological stress, but also that I actually enjoyed it.

    • Chris — I love that you took the solo canoe trip and discovered you have a tremendous amount of personal mettle.

      (Pssst… YOU left me with a cliffhanger for a couple of years while I was waiting on pins and needles for you to finish your second book) 🙂

  3. My watershed moment was this week; a breakthrough insight on how to proceed with my new business relaunch (mission, message ideal clients and business name). As you alluded, the moment of breakthrough came this week in a few hours but behind the moment (at least for me) a few years of sitting in the deep waters of reflection, paddling hard through high waves of challenge, and finally arriving on the shore of insight. Thanks too to you for supporting my landing!

    Very curious about your watershed moment!!

  4. Watershed moments have come with some frequency in my life. Epiphanies, callings, mystical moments. Some big. Some small. I get a feeling in the solar plexis or throughout the whole body. I take an action and keep checking in. Then I am often on a new path.

    • Shirley — We’re cut from the same bolt of cloth in that I get a feeling in my solar plexus that then radiates throughout my body, too. It’s almost like that feeling when an elevator your trapped in drops a few inches, then you wait for it, wait for it, and finally the doors open on a whole new floor 🙂

  5. When, on the phone from Japan and my lovely life, I told my sister in Alaska, “I’ll come now” to help take care of Mother in year 8 (went on for another 5)–life’s never been the same, tho no regrets.

  6. So many different levels at which one can answer this question.
    On the deepest level I have yet explored, I was probably about 12 years ago that I made the strategic connection between the sets of conditions that allow for the evolution of new levels of cooperation, and what that might mean for the sorts of social systems that might actually be able to support very long lived individuals.

    More recently, on Jan 5, at the AGM of the Boating Club I resigned as president after 13 years. I am still working tidying things up, but I am not president, nor even on the committee. And there are already indications that things I was able to manage will not be managed and will cause problems in the future. And I had to make a call about where I placed my limited resources of attention and creativity.

    More recently still, yesterday, I got an email confirming that three of the statutory committees I am part of (The Canterbury Regional Water Management Committee, the North Canterbury Biosecurity Committee and the Kaikoura Marine Guardians) are all meeting on the same day, at the same time, but at different places with a 2.5 hour drive between the most separated ones. I have to make a choice. Where does it seem most likely that my efforts can make the greatest difference, summed over time and people?

    Perhaps the greatest watershed moment is simply writing down that last question, and giving it some serious consideration, being as brutally honest as possible.

    So much uncertainty!

    It is so much easier going for the “low hanging fruit”, where one can see tangible rewards in the near term, than committing everything to a project that has no immediate rewards or agreement, only costs and criticism, but so much greater long term rewards.
    Parts of me are very conservative, and dislike the idea of risk and pain (and I have had a reasonable share of both of recent times); but other parts of me can see risk that has no mitigation strategy possible without commitment.


    Perhaps the watershed is yet to come.
    Perhaps a cliff is approaching.
    Left or right?
    The water is flowing both ways, which way does Ted go???
    Is another path possible?
    In the talons bird to go over, on a fish to swim the other way, in an underground tunnel to go under, via a tornado to be blown elsewhere, a boat, a plane, to be drunk by an animal and carried away? Endless possibilities – but reasonable probabilities???
    What defines reasonable???
    What seems reasonable to me, doesn’t appear to seem reasonable to many others at all!

    Good question Laurie.
    Have to go, drive down to Christchurch to bring Will home for a few days visit.

    Thanks for taking me into that maelstrom.

    • Ted — I applaud that you think about where your efforts can make the greatest difference, summed over time and people. That’s not the easy route (i.e., low-hanging fruit), but it’s the wisest most responsible one. Thank you for all that you do.

      Have a blast with Will 🙂

  7. Thank you for this thought provoking question, Laurie.

    I recently participated in a Storyteller Evening. I was so comfortable on stage that I ad-libbed my introduction. I have dyslexia and reading aloud carries a lot of weight with it. For me to be that comfortable… Wow. And I thought I’m ready for this dream of becoming a traditionally published author. I’m ready.

  8. Great question, and one where you leave us in suspense! So many watershed moments in our lives – the important thing is probably realizing (at the time or even later) that it is/was a watershed moment. You’ll appreciate this one of mine – I had NO idea when my first grandchild was born that this was a watershed moment in my life. The water’s parted and I discovered even more room in my heart to fall in love (with each grandchild who arrived). AND that they each add SO MUCH to my life. I am trying to be the kind of grandmother in which I, also, add much to their lives. ❤

  9. I called it an epiphany when I realized calling the meetings to help the area homeless was the best thing I could do. When the people came they took over with ideas and plans.

  10. Laurie, funny how life can poke along, maybe even for years without a single earthshaking or life-altering event occurring. Personally I prefer it this way. Since my husband became ill in the Spring of 2018, I’ve had more than one watershed moment, when my decision alone would change my life and put my journey on a completely different compass setting. Boom! Life as we knew it is gone! The new reality has not yet jelled! What shall we do!? Wait. Wait. If your path is not clear, it will be. Sooner or later, it will be resolved one way or the other, whether you made your desire known or not. It will be resolved.

    • Sandi — I’ve always appreciated the way your mind works; you’ve got a good solid head and your shoulders. And you’re right in that one way or another, things always get resolved 🙂

  11. Don’t do this to me Laurie 🤭 I hate secrets ( I read the end of a book just to know what’s happened before I read it…honest!)
    This is such a different direction to your usual blog . I like it but my toes are tingling .😊
    I’ll tell you mine when you tell me yours …deal !

  12. My watershed moment was two minutes ago when I realized that I couldn’t come up with a watershed moment without thinking about it. Changes come up daily, and I remember when I thought that my mother was dying one cell at a time . . .

  13. Wow. My watershed moment came when I launched my second poetry book of Cherita. That I could actually write about what I was going through in my marriage and not care what people make or made of it. So liberating, even now. 🙂

    Happy New Year, Laurie. 🙂

  14. My watershed moment was when I had hiked into the hills on Vancouver Island and I was sitting on stump of an ancient cedar that had been destroyed by clearcuts that stretched out as far as the eye could see. Beneath my feet were new seedlings and flowers and there were insects and birds of every kind in this wild garden. I thought, it’s time to fight for the young trees.

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