Inspiration is where you find it. I have just boarded a low-cost airplane, still wondering why I used to travel from Biarritz to Paris by train : 3.5 times as long to get there, even via TGV, and in spite of a 50% senior discount, more expensive than the plane. Mind you, I did choose to fly at an off-peak hour : 49 euros instead of 128.
But what struck me was the message in big letters on the side of the aircraft – subtle encouragement to abandon permanently any temptation I may still have, not only to use the competition of rail-travel, but above all that of major, non-low-cost airlines. Spelled out, the message is : “This may be your first easyJet flight. From now on, it should be your permanent choice : change for good !”
It is not the first time I have changed for good. Readers know that I gave up smoking long ago and have not consumed a drop of alcohol for four years. I have recently even brought my weight down significantly. I like to think that I have changed for good, permanently. I know I have changed for good, health-wise.
The ambiguity applies just as well to my decision, forty-five years ago, to leave the priesthood and the monastic life, and hopefully – for here, as with cigarettes, grog and calorie-intake, I can change my mind – the decision, ten years later, thirty-five years ago, to become an atheist. As with the renunciation of nicotine, alcohol and fish and chips, the change has been for the good. To say that is, of course, an understatement. With on-coming age and recent physical reminders of its inevitable inconveniences, I can hardly say that I have never felt better. But recognizing blind faith as blind folly is the best decision I ever made. I have changed for good.