Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Things You Think of While You're Walking

I always think of brilliant things to write on here, but it usually happens when I am either at work, or walking to work. Then by the time I get back here hours later, I've forgotten. The day has happened, and other things have pushed their way into my mind, and writing about killer squirrels, or whatever the hell I was thinking is just not going to happen.

This post is all about segueways, whatever comes to mind, comes to mind, flows through the fingers. And at this time of night, that is about as good as it's going to get.

I got a visit from an old colleague today....and although I thought this decision making was over and done with (and it really is, I already said no to the job), after she left, I felt positively homesick for my old job. Home...jobsick for the people I used to work with, my old desk, my old office mate, my old lunch buddy, my coloured paperclips...she left, and I felt like I was going to burst out crying. Gah, so silly really. But it kind of made me second guess my decision. Maybe I made the wrong choice, I thought. And then I stabbed myself in the eye with a pen, because OH MY GOD, get over it already.

I have only ever felt extreme homesickness two times in my life. The first time was when I first went away to university, and my parents dropped me off at the hellish residence that was to become my home. I had never lived away from home before, and the residence was soooo not my style, and I was petrified. I had to restrain myself from running after their car while they were driving away, "dear god, take me back with you....I can't stay here!!!". And hell yes I cried. It did eventually get better, but I think it took a couple of weeks. However, I will say this: that residence was a hell hole, and one of the best days of my freaking life was moving out of that place.

The second time I felt extreme homesickness was when I went to Europe a couple of years ago. My parents drove me to the airport, where I got on the plane to London. It was a weird mixture of feelings. Part of me was so proud of myself for going on this grand adventure all by my lonesome, but another part of me was just..terrified. Terrified in a "what the hell was I thinking, I"m a idiot" kind of way. But that passed after a couple of days. And the good part of it was I was too busy running around Europe to wallow in homesickness for too long. And looking back on it now, there is nothing in my life I am more proud of myself for doing. I'm so glad I sat on the plane with that crazy man who got in a fight with the woman in the seat in front of him, I am so happy that I met the people I did...yada yada and so forth. I whip out that memory every so often when I need to remind myself that I am strong, and that I can get through a lot. And although taking a trip to Europe by myself may not seem like it requires that much strength of character and bravery, for me and the person I was, it totally did. I learned a whole lot more about myself during that month I was gone, then I did during my entire three years at university.

Europe! It's odd. There are very few moments in my life where I remember feeling complete peace with the place I was in, and the person I was. One of those moments happened in Italy. This is a moment in my life I recall again and again; sometimes I think of it consciously, sometimes the memory is just jigged by a song, a picture or an object. Nothing extraordinary happened that day, it just turned into what was...a perfect moment. We were staying in a hotel just outside of Venice. Everyone decided to go to this dance club, but I, being nerdy and a little bit tired of my companions, decided to stay at the hotel, and explore the territory a little bit. I went to the local supermarket, and got some food. The supermarket clerk was talking away in Italian, and I just nodded and said the one Italian word I knew, and was on my way. It made me happy that she even thought I knew Italian. I brought my purchases back up to my second floor hotel room, and spread it out on the bed. I bought cheese, crackers, and orange Fanta. I opened the window wide, and pulled back the curtains. I brought my food over to the window and hopped on up. It wasn't a window seat, but it was wide enough for me to sit. One leg hanging out the window, the other leg hanging in the hotel room. The view was the kind of view I always pictured when I thought of Italy....stone, slightly crumbly buildings, clothes lines looping window to window, shirts and pants hanging and blowing in the breeze. Little old ladies were down on the street, talking to one another from their doorways. People walked up and down the road, right below where I was sitting. Nobody saw me. It was one of the most perfect moments of my life. I can't explain why, but it just was. If I ever need to recall a feeling of complete inner peace, I simply put myself back on that windowsill, and I can feel my stress levels decreasing.

Taking my trip to Europe was the time during my life when I absolutely decided that I wanted to be a writer. Sure, I had thoughts since I was about 8, but it wasn't until that trip, riding around in a bus full of strangers, that I knew that writing was what I wanted to do. Something about being completely removed from your regular life situation makes you think differently about things, and on that trip, the conclusion that I wanted to be a writer seemed so obvious. Ever since then, the thought has been brewing in the back of my mind. You have to do this, you have to do this, you have to do this. I was able to push it aside, keep saying, later, yeah, I'll do it soon, until now. I've come to a point where I realize that honestly, it's now or never baby. And if I ever doubt that choice, doubt that I can even do it in the first place, I just have to remember riding on the bus with all those crazy people, and it all becomes glaringly obvious again.

Segueing done.

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