The plan was hatched back in December, months before I put my two week’s notice in :
- Wait for my bonus, and quit in March.
- Spend April in Paris to get inspired, enjoy the city the way it was supposed to be enjoyed, and scrape all the crap from the previous 16 months out of my head.
- Come home for May, connect with friends and get some writing done.
- Spend June in Rome, volunteer at the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, maybe find a new inspiration or stumble into another epiphany among the splendor of Rome.
Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men. After a week or so in Rome, for reasons myriad and immutable, it became clear that that experience wouldn’t be what it was expected to be.
Also, she happened.
You know her as EZ. For the sake of her privacy, we don’t share a lot more than that. I can tell you, though, that she is beautiful, brilliant, caring, inspired, inspiring, and everything I could ever ask for in another human being. Well, other than a paralyzing fear of trains – that we need to work on.
The problem is, just about every typical measure of relationship compatibility returns unfavorable results :
Age – not close
Distance – even farther
Personal History – might as well have been on different planets
On a humid night in Rome, though, you look in her eyes and her bashfully uncomfortable face – and you realize you’ve wandered to a crossroads you didn’t see coming.
Down one road lay what you thought was going to happen, and what “makes sense” : you invested your time and energy in it, and you feel like you should see it through. It’s practical – well, within the framework of having taken a yearlong sabbatical, anyway – and there’s a plan in place. After all, we can’t just go changing directions every time something unexpected comes up, can we?
Along the other way, you see new hope and opportunity – almost unlimited opportunity. A chance to change your life from what you thought it would be to everything it can be.
Suddenly, what you thought you wanted wasn’t as important – now you know what you need. When that happens, there really isn’t much of a choice to make, after all.
You grab a hold of her, and you don’t let go until you have to. If she has to be in Paris, then you go to Paris too. The rest you figure out later.
Being creatures of habit, we tend to go for the known over the unknown as our first impulse; we feel like the devil we know is better than finding out what’s on the other side of that curtain. With that, though, comes an implied limit on what we can achieve or how much happiness we can find. Every great thing in our lives, from our kids to our careers to our loves, comes with a moment of “what if this doesn’t work?” immediately before it.
Well, it might not work. In some situations, it’s almost assuredly going to be a disaster. But if it doesn’t work, you’re going to come out the other side stronger, smarter, and without the omnipresent weight of regret on your back
So for now and for the foreseeable future, I’m grabbing a hold of her, and not letting go.