“In Every Life There Are Certain Pauses and Interruptions, Which Force Consideration Upon the Careless.”

“It is very happily and kindly provided, that in every life there are certain pauses and interruptions, which force consideration upon the careless, and seriousness upon the light; points of time where one course of action ends and another begins; and by vicissitude of fortune, or alteration of employment, by change of place, or loss of friendship, we are forced to say of something, ‘this is the last.'”

— Samuel Johnson, The Idler, No. 103

Have you experienced a moment like this? A milestone moment, or a change that led to an epiphany about the way your life was proceeding?


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  • Cal

    Gosh, the link to “Holding Fast” sure was a wake up call – thank you.

  • Melissa

    A bad breakup and a serious illness happened to me last year at the exact same time – and they changed the course of my life (for the good, of course). I learned the value of all of my platonic friends and neighbours who are here for me through thick and thin, and ended up having one of the best years of my life. I created many “opportunities for growth”, and learned how to sew and knit (hobbies I was afraid I wasn’t creative enough to do), and I even learned how to weld. I just celebrated by 30th birthday and I finally feel as though I’ve found a place in the world.

  • Eugenie

    i had a whole year where i made the worst mistakes a person could after living 30 something years trying to please everyone. i hurt people and even ended up homeless. I am not a financial success story now but i feel so liberated because i wiped the slate clean and can live authentically, which i never had before. every day i realize i am doing that and it’s all worth it. in ‘donnie darko’, there is a scene where his class discusses a Graham Greene story and donnie summarizes it as revolving around a conjoinphilosophy about consciously destroying everything so you can create what you truly desire to happen. i do not know the name of the story right now.

  • peninith1

    I once received a ‘wake up call’ from a new acquaintance. This was someone I so liked and respected immediately upon meeting him, that within a week I had a sudden notion of what my life would look like, seen through his eyes. Then the truth came blasting through to me that I was living in a ‘house of cards’ and the whole structure of my life must be changed. This person was just passing through, but he served as a kind of angel with a flaming sword, clearing my vision and making it necessary for me to undertake the work of tearing down and rebuilding. It was an astonishing upheaval from the unconscious, probably through a projection of what I already knew on another person, so that I could see myself. Unforgettable.

    • gretchenrubin

      So interesting. It’s always surprising to me how a brief encounter with another person – or even just some remark a person makes – can trigger an enormous change. A friend decided to go to law school when someone she didn’t even know said, “You sound like a lawyer.” She’d never thought of it before.

  • Chris

    When I was in an unhealthy relationship and not sure what to make of it, I met someone who could see through me and this relationship and who could tell exactly what I really wanted even though I did not know myself at that time. We had an immediate bond even though we only had an evening together, speaking about our lives.

  • Jane

    I’ve lost a ton of friends (almost all of them in a matter of 5 years) after I left my home state. I was involved in things I shouldn’t have been and hung around the “it” crowd whichc consisted of promsicuous girls, materialistic and shallow people. I was beyond sad about it so I decided to go to another country for a few months. It just so happened that I met the love of my life and I’m happily engaged, soon to be married. I guess it is true…when one door closes another is sure to open. I don’t expect for my life to be a fairytale but I do believe that the choices you make do have a serious impact on your life. Whether good or bad.

  • Apol

    Yes, from your book. I am learning to “Be Me”, and do what makes me happy and satisfied. Learning about myself and my true nature assists me in making the correct decisions for myself. It is not always easy as I find myself being blown about by the wind at times. Participating in activities I do not enjoy just to fit into the mold. This I do know…by being myself, I will be happier and I will attract people into my life that truly belong there.

  • Cathy

    A year ago I had an epiphany about my exercise routine. I realized that I used excuses to give myself a reason for not exercising (my kids, no time, weather, don’t like using exercise equipment). I finally decided at 40 years old that it was not acceptable. I could find the time even with my four kids around and an endless to-do list. I just needed to do it.

    I’ve been exercising consistently for a year now, just about every other day. I don’t beat myself up if I have to skip due to soreness or illness or a change in schedule. I just tell myself that I will do it the next day, and I typically do. I notice that I have gained a lot of muscle in my legs that I never had before. More importantly, I’ve gained a respect for myself since I am finally committed to taking care of my health.

    I’ve also tried to apply this attitude to other things in my life, such as going out with friends and attempting new things. It’s definitely made a difference in my life!

  • I moved to an area where it was hard to find jobs close to home. I was doing volunteer work at a church, and the woman I was working with on coping with her dad’s illness and her job search told me I was very good at working with people. I was in a situation where I did not have to work full-time. I decided it was a good time to put my Psychology degree to use by pursuing a Master’s in Social Work (M.S.W.).