A few months ago, I decided that I wanted to go on a holiday to Italy next year.
Im not sure why, but all of a sudden I had a burning desire to chat to some Italians (or more likely listen to some Italians as I do not speak a word, except for ciao) and drink lots of Italian wine in an Italian vineyard, nestled in the Italian countryside. Quite unlike my previous holiday plans, which were primarily centred around good diving spots.
“Are you going south or north?” was the common question asked when I announced this to my friends. I had no idea…does it matter?? Whats the diff? Surely there is wine everywhere in Italy? Who knows, I have yet to look at a map of Italy.
The “responsible” and “sensible” side of me is also contemplating buying a house. I have been told it would be a good idea to buy a house before the end of the year as prices are set to go up.
However, upon reading a particular book on the plane home last week, I am now wondering if what I am experiencing is not so unique after all. Perhaps what I am experiencing, is a midlife crisis. The type of mid-life crisis that women go through when at the age of thirty-something suddenly find themselves heartbroken? single?…..lonely. (or, really, all of the above). People keep telling me that the Universe (or God, or whatever you do/dont believe in), gives you what you need when you need it. And it is also very good at making sure you learn the lessons you are supposed to. If you ignore the lesson, then you might get a little “tap on the shoulder”- type of reminder. Somehting thats a bit “ouch” and supposed ot make you think. However, when you’re like me and think you know better, and/or you are so blinded by love that you simply dont heed the warning, you end up with a major kick in the gut. I had plenty of taps before I got the kick, so I guess you could say the Universe was trying to be nice to me, and I really have noone to blame but myself for my suffering. However, the point, Dear Universe, is that I am now listening!!
Although, now, because of my improved listening skills, I have a dilemna and Im really not sure which way to jump, because now, with my newfound capability for heeding the call of the Universe, I am completely confused! (which I guess means that actually, I havent got the capability after all…). I was all set to get on with my life, buy a house etc, etc. Then along comes this book, which echoes everything that I have been/am going through, and now I seem to be more focussed on my Italy fantasy, which is all well and good, but now I want the house too.
So how can one little book cause me so much consternation? I mean, just because you read a book, does not mean that the Universe is speaking to you! This I know, but it has more to do with a combination of the way this particular book came to be in my hands , together with the fact that it seems so aligned with what I am going through….there I was a week or so ago, keen to get on my plane to Sydney, when in my frustration with the self baggage checkin process, I forgot that I had left my book in the front sleeve of the suitcase and which I had intended to remove from said sleeve prior to checking in the bag. So off I went to the bookstore to purchase some other reading material, inevitably I was drawn to the latest National Geographic in all its glory with some great diving photos on the cover, promising the discovery of some fabulous new diving destination. Secondly I thought there is no way NG is going to keep me occupied for the entire 4 hour flight (particularly as I had read almost a third of the diving story whilst standing there at the shelf), so I decided to wander over to the book section and that is how I came to be in the possession of Brida. Such a beautifully written story about a young womans search for her Soulmate – a journey that leads her to discover a lot about herself. I have already addressed this book in a previous post, but suffice to say, this book, though relatively brief, probably put me in the right mindset for all of the things I learned from my friend Linda over the weekend in Sydney. It was because of this book that I finally listened to what was being told to me, and actually had the courage to finally start believing what was being told to me. Linda wasnt the first person to say all of this to me, but it was during our conversations that I finally felt a little change deep inside, a little bit of light, a little ray of hope and anticipation for the future. Simultaneously, I finally felt my vicelike grip on my present misery and despair, loosen… just a little but even a little was almost physically noticeable instantly. I felt lighter (despite the ricotta pancakes with banana and honeycomb butter I was at that moment shovelling into my mouth with gusto).
But THEN, on my way back to Perth, I made exactly the same mistake!! This was despite the fact that I had mentally reminded myself as I walked over to the check-in queue (thankfully Qantas in Sydney still have people to check in your bags for you), NOT to forget my book. Then the announcement was made that Perth passengers need to move to a different counter immediately as that flight would shortly be closing for check-in (I had had a slight issue with the train, one lady noticing my suitcase and then telling me I was in the completely wrong place- which turned out to be entirely INCORRECT but by the time I got back to the CORRECT platform, my train had already gone and I had to wait for the later one- this by the way, was the reason why I put the book in the sleeve in the first place, because in my panic to get to what turned out to be, the INCORRECT platform, I decided to stash it, despite the fact that I had been carrying it to ensure I didnt make the same mistake). So, in the rush and panic, yes I once again, left the book in the sleeve of the suitcase.
But on my way to the gate, my flight was called, and I was still 7 gates away. Thus, I started running and then noticed the book store on my left – I whizzed in, literally grabbed the first book I saw on the “BESTSELLER” shelf, lobbed some money to the assistant and ran to catch my flight.
When I finally sat down next to the retired couple on the plane and got settled, I looked at the book. It turns out I had bought “Eat, Pray, Love“. Not a book I had ever really intended to read, I knew nothing about it but I knew Julia Roberts starred in the movie recently and that apparently she put on weight (with a tittle beginning with EAT I wasnt surprised).
Well, I didnt even get through the first ‘mini’ chapter and I already had a constant flow of tears streaming down my cheeks. Ok, so I was already a bit teary for some reason, most likely due to the thought of having to go back to my cold, empty (except for a few cockroaches) house after a weekend of fun and people and chit chat, and eating and drinking. Or maybe it was the fact that after Linda had cheerily told me that I will get over this and when I do I will be happier and love deeper than I ever have, she said “but it will take a really long time“. (Bless her)
Im sorry…what? But I dont have a really long time, Im 32! I want to find the man of my dreams and marry him before I destroy my career by spending far too many hours sobbing in the bathroom! And I want to have kids while Im still young enough to enjoy them and still fit enough to keep up with them (or quick enough to still kick their butt when they do something astronomically stupid).
But anyway the book, well, that didnt help one bit with the weeping and it would have had me tearing up anyway(I know this because I was reading it on the plane again today, and I still started to get teary even though I was surrounded by tough burly men), if I cannot stop myself from tearing up in that situation then I think we can assume, this book has also struck a chord.
Ok so I made a list of all the things Elizabeth Gilbert and I have in common so far (Im still on the Italy section of the book):
She divorced (well techincally tried to) her husband of 10 years at 30: I broke up with my fiance of 8 years at 29
She immediately fell deeply and completely in love with another man: So did I
Despite the fact that she loved him so much, he made her miserable: Yup, tick
She is a Cancerian: tick
She expressed herself through witing: well Im not a writer but I do express myself better this way than by speaking, and I also hope to express myself through photography soon (which is not Liz’s thing but I thought I would throw it in there anyway).
She became fixated on a particular thing (learning italian) that she wanted to learn, for herself, just because: I have discovered my wish to learn photography (not sure how I would go learning another language really but I have often thought about Spanish/Portuguese).
She was the one who left the love of her life, realising that she could not be happy with him, she left the country; I wanted to leave the country (still do, much to the annoyance of my friends who Im sure are well over hearing me whine about how I want to leave the country). In fact, Im desperate to leave the country, because I live in constant fear that I will run into HIM in public, with his new lady and burst into tears on the spot (I saw them driving along a road in my suburb a couple of weeks ago whilst I was on my way to the store after which I was going to head to a friends place…instant wracking sobs and did not make it to the store, or the friends house, instead I turned the car around and went home because I couldnt be seen in public like that anyway)
Then finally, Liz went to Italy: I want to go to Italy!
So for this reason, I feel I have sufficient evidence to conclude that perhaps this is indeed some kind of message. A message to get off my butt and get the hell out of this town in which every little thing that I used to extract joy from, is now tainted because they are now linked to HIM, and this overriding fear of running into him is a constant drain on my emotions and energy.
Or maybe the message is that I should buy a bigger handbag, so that I wont leave the stupid book in the sleeve of my suitcase.
I dont know, its a complicated decision. I have a new job for a start so I cant just pack up for a month and head off to Italy, I cant afford it either. But if I buy a house, particularly the one I saw yesterday, I really wont be able to afford it as every spare cent I have for the next six months will be spent renovating, and then there’s the dogs. I am practically in tears every Monday when I have to leave them behind and thats only for one night, Im not sure if I can live without them for a month.
Besides, I did come across an article the other day about this very book, stating that women from all over the world are flocking to the places mentioned in her book in a desperate attempt to mend their own broken hearts and find their path. The author of the story called it, what was it? “A Convention for the Disappointed” or something like that.
I’m not interested in following someone elses path, following my own is exhausting enough.
But I DO want to go to Italy.