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.

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