Monday, April 22, 2024


When life’s events become reference points

Whether it is our first job, an unfortunate event, a personal milestone…or even a global crisis like Covid pandemic, some experiences become reference points, shaping our lives, and the beliefs and values we hold.

By Suzy Fontes

Friday, March 29, 2024

Most of us who have been around before the turn of the century remember where we were or what we were doing when the news of 9/11 splashed on television screens around the world. Some of us might have vivid recollection of the images hitting our screens and our overwhelmed minds. For a few of us, that day may have become a reference point to analyse life and living.

Personally, I recall watching the news unfold on a large television screen in a shopping complex, during a routine work visit. The impact of the attack stayed with me, altering my perspective on the fragility of humanity.

Certain events have a way of connecting us to core aspects of our lives. It could be a global event, a community affair or even a personal milestone; these experiences serve as reference points, shaping our values, our perspectives, our expectations and the whole rigmarole of living with an established identity.

Reference points are, literally, pinpointable moments in our lives. They become chalkboards to register our personal assessment of a situation, our shaped opinions and shared perspectives to compare and evaluate all that transpires in our lives – until another reference point emerges to shake that stand or reinforce it.

Of all the shared memories that have connected the world in recent times, COVID is, perhaps, the most easily recognizable reference point. Directly or indirectly, it became a yardstick to measure different facets of life – death too, with the recurring fear of the pandemic hanging over our heads like the Damocles sword.

Going back in time, I recall that for a very long time during college life, the heavily branched tree (strangely named honeymoon tree) in the main thoroughfare of the campus became a reference point for teenage life that revolved around friends, carefree days, and stolen breaks.

Life is sprinkled with several such reference points, like guiding stars, that help us connect the dots and create the narrative of our lives.

Reference points are the markers in our lives, helping us gauge how far we have come and where we might be headed.