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This Burns My Heart
An epic love story set in the intriguing landscape of postwar South Korea.
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In your own life, has there been one monumental decision that changed the course of your life, even if you didn’t know it at the time?

Created: 04/08/12

Replies: 20

Posted Apr. 08, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
admin

Join Date: 10/11/10

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In your own life, has there been one monumental decision that changed the course of your life, even if you didn’t know it at the time?

Throughout the novel, Soo-Ja regrets saying "No" to Yul's proposal back when she was 22. "We’re only given one life, and it’s the one we live, she had thought; how painful now, to realize that wasn't true, that you would have different lives, depending on how brave you were, and how ready." (p. 285) Later, she states, "The life she had was in fact the one she'd been supposed to have" (p. 352). Which opinion do you agree with? In your own life, has there been one monumental decision that changed the course of your life, even if you didn’t know it at the time?


Posted Apr. 10, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

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RE: In your own life, has there been one monumental decision that changed the course of your life, even if you didn’t know it at the time?

For me, I can think of many times I could have chosen a different path, so many it's hard to narrow it down. But the first that popped into my mind was the opportunity to study abroad - in England - I had when I was pursuing my undergrad degree. I was newly engaged and my fiance (now husband) was so distraught at the idea of me leaving for three entire months I relented, and didn't go.

This may or may not have changed the course of my life but it had the potential. And it's been one of my biggest regrets throughout my life.

Another I'll throw in quickly was my decision not to pursue a Master's degree immediately upon graduating with my B.A. in English literature. I'm confident that would have changed so much in my life. Instead of trying to shop around my basic liberal arts degree I may have had a great career instead of a series of secretarial jobs, leading up to becoming a librarian in my 40s (requiring an MLIS degree).

But hindsight's 20/20, as they say.

What about you?

Lisa


Posted Apr. 11, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
irisf

Join Date: 01/16/12

Posts: 56

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RE: In your own life, has there been one monumental decision that changed the course of your life, even if you didn’t know it at the time?

We have so many choices along the way and it's hard to know how any one of them might have taken us in a different direction. Unless there's been a serious mistake, it's futile to guess at what might have been, especially if you ultimately find yourself in a happy place. What-ifs are a waste of time!


Posted Apr. 11, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

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RE: In your own life, has there been one monumental decision that changed the course of your life, even if you didn’t know it at the time?

It's definitely a waste of time to second-guess past mistakes, unless you turn that into a positive and plan to pursue you dreams later rather than never, after having put them off. I don't believe it's ever too late to find your true calling and try to make up for lost time. The hard part is not feeling badly you didn't realize what you wanted before, believing the time you were doing other things was wasted. Who knows? Maybe you learned something invaluable when you thought you weren't following your dream and molded your character for the better.

There's a lot to be said for "blooming where you're planted."

What do you think about the saying, "It's the journey, not the destination?"


Posted Apr. 11, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
peg

Join Date: 08/11/11

Posts: 29

RE: In your own life, has there been one monumental decision that changed the course of your life, even if you didn’t know it at the time?

Yes..there have been several. As mentioned above each major decision causes a direction your line will maintain. Marriage, grad scool, working full time with four kids all had consequences for me, my kids and marriage.


Posted Apr. 11, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
mary lou c

Join Date: 04/11/12

Posts: 1

RE: In your own life, has there been one monumental decision that changed the course of your life, even if you didn’t know it at the time?

Yes, there have been many. I do believe that "the life we have is the one we're supposed to have." Every decision and event leads to a new path. Each new path molds us into what and who we are. If we learn from the mistakes we've made, we can chart a course in a more positive direction. We are accountable for those decisions we make along the way. If it's not the right place for you to be, you need to change course.


Posted Apr. 12, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Navy Mom

Join Date: 04/12/12

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RE: In your own life, has there been one monumental decision that changed the course of your life, even if you didn’t know it at the time?

I think life sometimes just happens, big decisions are made in a second and often emotions, culture, preconceptions get in the way of making the right decision. What can be right at the moment might not be right in the long run. Yes, my life has unfolded differently than I would have planned, but that doesn't mean it was bad.


Posted Apr. 13, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
kathym

Join Date: 09/14/11

Posts: 12

RE: In your own life, has there been one monumental decision that changed the course of your life, even if you didn’t know it at the time?

Of course, I made the monumental decision to marry a man in the service and that totally changed the course of my life. I married him after knowing him for 6 months. I left my small home town to see the world. I had four amazing children with him and am still with 35 and 1/2 years later. Who knows what would have happened if I had stayed put and close to my family. It certainly the course I was going on and it was a wonderful decision. No regrets.


Posted Apr. 13, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

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RE: In your own life, has there been one monumental decision that changed the course of your life, even if you didn’t know it at the time?

Some people have more definitive plans for their lives, a firm vision for where they want to eventually wind up. Others only know generalities, careers they'd like to pursue, whether they'd like to have children or not.

What do you think is the fundamental reason for this, why some people are driven and some aren't? Does it have to do with fore-planning, blind luck or a combination of both?

I used to imagine my ideal life would be spent living in Great Britain or Ireland, that I'd be a writer/novelist living in a cozy cottage with roses trailing around my front door. I'm not sure I'd be married or not. I never made it that far in my planning. But somehow I'd spend my life wrapped around a lot of solitary time, spent tapping away at a computer.

I ended up staying in the Chicago suburbs, getting married and having three children I stayed home with for twelve years of my life. To satisfy my literary cravings I read - a LOT - and participated in online book groups. I wrote a bit but not very much. Then I began blogging, rubbing elbows with lots of authors, agents, etc. I keep saying I'm "going to work on my" novel (I have several in progress) but usually put that off. Now I'm a professional reviewer, hardly dipping into my own work.

The "cottage" is a two-story colonial in the Chicago suburbs and the flowers a mostly lovely (if plants would stop dying!) garden. Solitude is all but nil but I've gone on retreats every now and then. Our house is located in a pretty quiet location, on half an acre. The major annoyance we face are cars whipping down our street and the noise of airplanes landing at the airport nearby.

In some ways I've realized parts of my dream, though that cottage in Britain/Ireland has yet to. Neither has the independent wealthy, which would be necessary to maintain an older house. In some ways I've gotten what I always wanted but not all.

Is that enough? That's what I always ask myself.


Posted Apr. 16, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jacquelines

Join Date: 04/16/12

Posts: 6

RE: In your own life, has there been one monumental decision that changed the course of your life, even if you didn’t know it at the time?

Who hasn't made big decisions that have changed our lives? I am not a big fan of Hemingway, however he said one thing I agree with: "Every man's life, told truely, is a novel." I would ament that to include women as well. We all have interesting stories, most have come about because of the paths we chose and have been travelling.


Posted Apr. 17, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dorothyl

Join Date: 04/15/12

Posts: 34

RE: In your own life, has there been one monumental decision that changed the course of your life, even if you didn’t know it at the time?

I think that marriage is a monumental decision. Who you marry and when you marry can be pivotal in determining the rest of your journey through life. It was pivotal in my life. There were other decisions that were important but none that determined who I am today more than that choice.


Posted Apr. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

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RE: In your own life, has there been one monumental decision that changed the course of your life, even if you didn’t know it at the time?

I definitely agree, dorothyl. Having children is another monumental decision as well as college major (or college at all) and how far you go in your education. I earned my B.A. in 1988 and my MLIS in 2008. Quite a gap there! And now here I am in this economy with a job that's constantly in peril. Sometimes outside sources make those monumental decisions for us, as well, if your job disappears, etc. All we can do is plan as well as we're able, I guess, and make the best decisions as they come up. A whole lot of life is out of our hands.


Posted Apr. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
rebajane

Join Date: 04/21/11

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RE: In your own life, has there been one monumental decision that changed the course of your life, even if you didn’t know it at the time?

I truly believe in the journey and not necessarily the destination. If you always keep your senses awake during the journey and learn from every leg, good or bad you are truly living. And who knows, paying attention to the journey could lead to a better destination


Posted Apr. 21, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
vivianh

Join Date: 11/14/11

Posts: 7

RE: In your own life, has there been one monumental decision that changed the course of your life, even if you didn’t know it at the time?

I've made many decisions that changed the course of my life. Some were good and some not so good. However, each decision brought me down a path to where I am today - which is where I'm supposed to be. I agree that life is a journey, that all decisions afford an opportunity to grow, and that one ultimately finds peace and contentment within. The most monumental decision I've made was to respond to my now husband when he contacted me through an online dating site 7 1/2 years ago. I ignored the contact initially for various reasons - one being his geographic inconvenience. But with that one decision - I sold my house, moved to another state, relocated my job, began telecommuting, got married in Italy, developed a passion for landscaping, ignited an interest in historic photographic processes, began growing heirloom tomatoes, took up golf, learned to sew using 19th Century techniques to make my own clothes for Civil War reenactments and living histories, embraced yoga, and found peace in watching the birds at the feeder outside my window. You never know the ripples that are made by one simple decision to act or not to act.


Posted Apr. 23, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
gwendolyndawson

Join Date: 10/20/10

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RE: In your own life, has there been one monumental decision that changed the course of your life, even if you didn’t know it at the time?

I agree with the other posters that we all have so many decisions that fundamentally and significantly change our lives, some for the good and some not. Instead of living a life full of regret, though, I prefer to view these momentous decisions as reminders that we're all in control of our own lives. We truly do have the power to decide.


Posted Apr. 25, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

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RE: In your own life, has there been one monumental decision that changed the course of your life, even if you didn’t know it at the time?

It's interesting how so many of us felt this question was so compelling and I love the range of answers. We all have to face the consequences of all our decisions on a day to day basis. Not that we're actively thinking, "This is what I could have/should have done..." all the time. But our lives at this moment are an accumulation of all the decisions we've ever made. We just don't know how things will pan out 'til the end. While it's better being happy where you're at, that doesn't mean you can't re-direct your life in midstream. It may be better or may be worse but it feels better knowing everything's not necessarily engraved in stone. Interesting thread!


Posted Apr. 25, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
janeh

Join Date: 06/15/11

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RE: In your own life, has there been one monumental decision that changed the course of your life, even if you didn’t know it at the time?

Yes -- and it involved leaving home too. Fortunately, I didn't have parents who wanted to marry me off, but I did make the decision to seek employment in a much larger city. It was the best decision I ever made.


Posted Apr. 25, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
cheryls

Join Date: 05/22/11

Posts: 3

RE: In your own life, has there been one monumental decision that changed the course of your life, even if you didn’t know it at the time?

When I think back, I believe that the one moment that really changed my life, was to get married young and not continue my education.... ultimately, my life has been really blessed and we are married 45 years now...wouldn't change a thing....Also i did take some of the courses...Later on.....


Posted Apr. 25, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
arielf

Join Date: 04/22/11

Posts: 18

RE: In your own life, has there been one monumental decision that changed the course of your life, even if you didn’t know it at the time?

I am now about to retire. But as I think back on my life, in college I majored in Elementary Education. My goal was to be a Kindergarten teacher. During the Christmas holidays I came home to attend a job fair. At this job fair I had the opportunity to interview with the local board of education, other local companies and also our also city government personnel department. During my last week of student teaching, I receive a call from the personnel director offering me a job working in personnel. I accept that job. While I was working at that job, I represented the city at a job fair at one of the local community organizations. I met a manager from a multinational computer company. He and I talked and he talked to me about opportunities working for the company. He gave me the name of the local branch manager. I called the branch manager and the rest is history. I was offered a job with the computer company. It turned out to be an excellent opportunity and I remained with the company moving the career ladder into a variety of staff and management positions and was able to retire 18 years ago at the age of 51! I then was able to go back to college and get re certified to teach and taught Kindergarten for 3 years. Due a family illness, I needed to return to my home city. Upon returning, I applied for a manager job in city government. I have been in that position for 12 years and will soon be retiring.

My decision to join the multinational computer company was a monumental decision and changed the course of my life. I will be forever grateful for having made this decision.


Posted Apr. 28, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
booksnob

Join Date: 11/12/11

Posts: 21

RE: In your own life, has there been one monumental decision that changed the course of your life, even if you didn’t know it at the time?

Yes, I had to choose between two men. The one I didn't choose moved away and I always wonder What if? If I had chosen him, How would my life be different? I have seen him once in the past 20 years and I still care deeply for him. Sometimes I think maybe our life's journey will carry us back to each other and maybe not. This Burns my Heart brought up all those old feelings and questions of mine again.


Posted May. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

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RE: In your own life, has there been one monumental decision that changed the course of your life, even if you didn’t know it at the time?

booksnob, I know what you mean. And life has a strange way of working in unexpected ways, even if things seem improbable. You really never know where you'll wind up. I'm pretty sure most of us have that sort of "what if" lingering, whether it's a relationship, a job, or anything, really. Life is totally unpredictable and, as the Buddhists say, we truly have no power over life and it works out how it's meant to work out. So who knows?


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