Tuesday, October 26, 2010


"I have always believed that in the lives of individuals, just as in society at large, the profoundest changes take place within a very reduced time frame.  When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait.  Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny."
Author's note, The Devil and Miss Prym by Paulo Coelho

I started reading this new book the other day.  I encountered the above quote at the end of the author's note at the beginning.  The truth of the statement struck me quite forcefully.  I've found myself returning to reread it over and over. I thought about it so much I sort of didn't care to start the actual story for a while.

I feel like all of the most "profound" changes in my life took place in relatively short periods of time.  This is not to stay that all significant changes occurred quickly because, of course, some things simply cannot be shortened.  But the changes that stick most in my mind, and therefore I consider most profound, were choices suddenly imposed upon me.  Those moments certainly challenged my courage and forced themselves upon me in such a way to demand a response.  Indeed, I could not ignore their presence, nor could I delay my decision out of un-readiness because as it says above, "the challenge will not wait."

I suppose if we did expect sudden challenges before they arrived, and if they were drawn out over a period of time, their impact would not be so indelible in our lives.  They are all the more significant and memorable precisely because they are sudden, unexpected, and jarring.  It's a lot easier to remember fire is hot once you get burned.

Since I cannot predict when such sudden moments of decision are going to occur, all the more reason to be prepared for whatever comes.  All the more reason to make intermediate decisions every day that I can control.  All the more reason to stick to morals and goals and beliefs and other tried and tested frameworks to guide my life to minimize stress and maximize making the decision that is matches who I am and/or want to become.
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