Today I can hear a dialogue playing again and again from one of my favorite movies. In this particular scene from Under the Tuscan Sun (2003, by Audrey Wells) Frances (Diane Lane) is confiding in her realtor and friend Martini (Vincent Riotta)*. Frances is expressing her doubts and fears about her impulsive and instinctive decision to make a fresh start of her life in Tuscany. Martini reassures her with this story:
“Signora, between Austria and Italy, there is a section of the Alps called the Semmering. It is an impossibly steep, very high part of the mountains. They built a train track over these Alps to connect Vienna and Venice. They built these tracks even before there was a train in existence that could make the trip. They built it because they knew some day, the train would come.”
The moral of this story resonates with me today. One must do the work now to make the path (or lay the tracks in Martini’s example) for where he or she wants to eventually journey. The train, as a vehicle of transport, cannot take you on your journey unless it has tracks to travel upon. Within this past week I have started to build some major tracks over my own mountain.
Like Frances, I am on an uncertain journey right now. In a few months I may find myself (mostly by my own choice) without a job, without a home and without knowing exactly what is to come next. Why would someone choose to put himself in such a stressful situation? Frances answered this question for Martini by saying, “Because I still want things.” Bingo. The uncertainty of not knowing where I am going next is admittedly a bit frightening. But it also exciting. You see, for me the truly frightening thing is to find myself in the EXACT same place 12 months from now without having made any progress towards the things that I still want. I’m willing to take the risks and learn from this adventure.
What do I want? That’s an easier question to ask than to answer. Most of us can probably answer this one more easily, “what DON’T I want?” Personally, I do not want to grow stagnant. I do not want ordinary or status quo. I DO want to become better. I want to be better at what I do, who I am and how I am able to be of service to others. So my tracks are being built to take me on a journey of growth and evolution.
Last week was a BIG week. On Tuesday I was disappointed to find out that I will not be pursuing a PhD for the 2013-2014 academic year. I had hoped that this would be my journey for the coming year. I decided that despite the disappointment, I wanted to go ahead with the plan to sell my house and leave Orlando (the place that has been my home for over a decade now). So my house went on the market on Wednesday and by Friday I had accepted an offer on the house. I feel that the house sale represents a significant piece of track that I will continue to lay in the coming months. At this moment, the train doesn’t exist… but the destination does. I am concentrating my energy into what I know by instinct needs to be done today to prepare for whatever opportunity will come tomorrow.
My instincts are pulling me towards the northeast. Perhaps it’s the energy and accomplishment-oriented attitude of NYC that is attracting me. Or I may find that the universe opens a door for me that I had never even considered. Follow along with me through these blogs as I wait for my train to arrive.