It’s a hot, late summer day. You’re digging into bowl of ice cream, hungrily devouring it, enjoying a temporary respite from the oppressive swelter of the dog days.
And then it happens.
A jolting thunderbolt of pain to your forehead – brain freeze!
Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow.
I’m fifty-four; I still find myself failing to learn from the folly of eating my ice cream, much faster than is good for me. I still wind up getting a blinding case of brain freeze, about half the time I eat anything frozen.
My otherworldly – and irrational – desire for very short gain, is way stronger, than my fear of the inevitable pain – even as paralyzing, and intense, as it is.
If only this type of irrational behavior was limited to eating ice cream.
Look around. You can probably pick out a dozen examples, in the places you live and you work, of how you are now living with the long lasting consequences, of short term decisions made in the excitement of fleeting, ephemeral benefit.
Carpe Diem, Cras Pati: seize the day… but suffer tomorrow.
I remember reading a quote from Robert Downey, Jr., about his addition to drugs. He said, “It’s like I’ve got a shotgun in my mouth, with my finger on the trigger, and I like the taste of the gun metal.”
We have to be present, and intentional, as we make decisions that will impact not only ourselves, but those around us. We have to understand what motivates us to act, and bring that to bear as we debate and reflect upon the range of consequences of what will follow after the fact.
If we rush headlong, in the heat of the moment, we may pay a blindingly painful price; turning something that should be celebrated, and enjoyed, into bitter regret.