I am looking for a one-word synonym (or short phrase) meaning "to make one reconsider" or "to make one rethink". This would be used in the context of explaining how an event makes one step back and realize what has passed them by over time.
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What about simply "gave me pause"? It sounds a bit funny, I suppose, but it implies a stopping to evaluate (or re-evaluate) things, to reconsider, to ponder anew. For example, "When I hit my fiftieth birthday, well, let's just say it gave me pause. I began to think about all the opportunities I had missed, all the dreams I had failed to pursue."
"Re-evaluate" or "ruminate" can be used in that context.
You could use the expression "disabuse" here if the person's original notion was erroneous by your way of thinking.
After receiving so many condolence cards, I was disabused of the notion that people are inherently apathetic.
I disabused her of the belief that mowing the lawn is easy.
"Disabuse" requires an object, so it wouldn't work if you were trying to make a person re-think, as in re-learn how to interpret the world. In that case, a word like "liberated" might be better.