It is one of life’s realities that just when we screw our courage up to make a big change, the Universe presents us with an inducement to reconsider. It can take many forms, but the message always seems to be, “Hey! Are you sure you wouldn’t rather just stay put?”

In my case, the second thoughts about moving to Madrid have shown up in the guise of an editorial job in Boston that I’m more than qualified for. No, I don’t want to stay in New England. No, I don’t fancy showing up at an office every morning at the same time. No, publishing isn’t my calling. And yet… and yet… I’m pursuing it. More as an exercise in “Don’t say no until you really know what’s on offer.” It’s also because I’m tempted by a 12-month payroll and benefits, which I’ve done without for the last couple of years. That’s some serious weight on the scale of decision-making.

On the other pan of the scale is something I read this week in Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life, by James Hollis. (I’m reading it at Duchesse’s very timely suggestion — evidence of the Universe’s other gifts.) Hollis is both compassionate and blunt when he points out, “[…] from this dialogue between different identities, enlargement invariably arises. We may not want to grow, really, but we are really forced to grow, or we will regress and die, because the soul, the eternal dimension of our quite mortal lives, demands growth.” (p. 88)

That’s exactly the conversation I’m having with myself — my ego (in the Jungian sense) is still hoping that the same old thing will be enough to keep me going. But my soul, which has gained more of a voice since I stepped away from the whirl of career and material success, knows better.