I am looking for a word (noun, adjective ... even an idiomatic phrase ... it is irrelevant) that describes an important event or trial period in one's life, that whatever decisions they make and what actions they take will ultimately make or break them (or to put it differently, these actions will determine what quality of life they will experience in their later years). Initially, I thought watershed, milestone, and seminal would suffice in capturing the essence of the foregoing statement; but these words do not pass my semantic muster.

  • Today I learned that linchpin is not a term for this. The card game Chrononauts uses linchpin to designate moments in the game's timeline that can be changed to create ripple effects in the timeline. I'd always understood linchpin to be what you mean, but it actually refers to holding things (a wheel, something figurative) together. So linchpin is another one for the idiolect. Commented May 21, 2022 at 11:29

2 Answers 2


From The Free Dictionary

a road-to-Damascus moment

A turning point; a life-changing experience.

[It] Refers to the Biblical story of Saul, who converts to Christianity (and becomes known as Paul) after he has a vision of Jesus while on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians.

The decision to move turned out to be a real road-to-Damascus moment in my life—everything changed after that.

OK, everyone, this could be our road-to-Damascus moment. If they accept our pitch, it could mean a total transformation for our company.

Going to that college ended up being a road-to-Damascus moment for me because I met my now-husband there. I also teach there these days!

Also a/the/one's Damascus moment


It’s a fork in the road. Or the point in life where two roads diverged like the poem by Robert Frost which ends as follows:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

  • 1
    Also a crossroad. Same idea.
    – Xanne
    Commented May 21, 2022 at 19:58

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