The tipping point

It's 4am in Chicago. I can't sleep.
Jet lag really sucks.

It just occurred to me that in the few months we've been married I've been in Chicago almost half the time. I start to wonder if I still haven't fully comprehended the fact that I am, indeed, M-A-R-R-I-E-D. And if not, does that make me a bad wife?

I mean damn, it's a little early in the game to start racking up demerits already.

I stare out from a 23rd floor window at the black void of the lake and search for answers in the streetlights that freckle the park in braille. My eyes rest on the strong, stable skyline that has been the backbone of my existence for 40 years.

No matter how many times I've left to live or travel elsewhere, this has always been home. I could come back any time I wanted. Now, for the first time in my life, that isn't so.

Bloody hell.
What have I done?

In physics, a "tipping point" is the point at which an object is displaced from a state of stable equilibrium into a new, different state.

That could certainly describe several events of the past few years.

So I pause to identify that exact moment in time that changed everything. There is a plethora of obvious candidates: our wedding day, the day(s) we got engaged, our reunion in Milan two years after our first meeting in Rome, or perhaps the night I stood under the moon at San Galgano and I decided that I wanted to live in Italy...

Auspicious as these events may have been, I'm not sure any of them propelled me into a wholly different state. Different countries perhaps (bad pun intended), but that state of stable equilibrium - my sense of balance and order, a conscious awareness of my relative position to all things - that had followed me all over the world.

Ironically, I wasn't the least bit nervous about getting married. My husband is the most amazingly perfect partner that I could ever invent for myself. My last thought the night before the wedding was that I'll never get to sleep on my side of the bed again, but that seemed like a small price to pay for happily ever after.

But not being able to fly home whenever the hell I feel like it? Damn. That honestly never crossed my mind. Nor did it occur to me that I would find it this unsettling.

As I sit here looking down on the world below, I am overcome by a sudden attack of vertigo as I realize that for the past several months (maybe even the past several years) I've been standing on this precipice, postponing the inevitable moment when I would have to leave the nest (for good this time) and dive into the mysterious ether that is to be the next phase of my life.

Whether I'm ready or not, it's time. This is the tipping point.


No resolutions, no regrets

If you're still in the market for a new year's resolution, this is a pretty damn good one.

As 2010 drew to a close I was overwhelmed with the realization that I could spend the entirety of 2011 counting the blessings I was graced with in the past year alone. After asking myself, "What did I do to deserve all this?" and struggling to come up with a valid answer (despite the fact that it was meant to be a rhetorical question), I posed this not-so-rhetorical challenge: "What am I going to do to deserve all this?"

I immediately set about listing all the good deeds and positive actions that I intend to undertake in the coming months and by 12:05am on January 1st, the clean slate I was granted at midnight was already impossibly full.  Best of intentions notwithstanding, I can confidently forecast without a shadow of a doubt that, as in each year prior to the one that lies ahead, I will fall woefully short of my overly ambitious aspirations. But that certainly won't stop me from trying. Each day, each moment, is a new opportunity.

So this year, rather than scrapping my resolutions when they prove to be more difficult than they sounded whilst under the spell of sky lanterns, fire twirlers and far too much Prosecco, I will merely park them on a shelf for a while and focus on living up to this simple yet powerful statement:

"Do not let this universe regret you."

I was going to offer my version of what this mantra means to me, but I decided that my personal take on it is relatively unimportant to anyone but me. So I will leave it here now and let it stand on its own, to be interpreted by anyone who stumbles across this in whatever way speaks most authentically to you. If you care to share your thoughts on it, please do.

Happy New Year Everyone!
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