On Not Waking Up in Rome

I was supposed to be waking up in Rome this morning. I was accepted into the Master of Arts in Food Studies program at the American University of Rome and had planned to spend at least the next year living and studying in Rome.

I was really serious about the whole thing and had every intention of following through. As soon as I received my acceptance email last winter, I informed my boss that I was leaving the college (where I had spent the last 25 years of my life as an English professor) to pursue a second master's degree.

I began rearranging/tidying up/downsizing my life to make it possible to leave the country for such an extended period. Almost everything I own is in storage at the moment. But as summer progressed, I felt less and less interested in going back to grad school. I already have a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, and damn near a Ph.D. I started to realize that I was looking at yet another degree to lead me to some kind of future that I already had every bit of power to pursue. As a former journalist and professor, I can write about food if I want to write about food. Sometimes what we are looking for is already right in front of us.

There were a number of reasons that I didn't go to Rome. Lots of things. Logistically, there is a lot to figure out: what do I do with my car? my mail? my cell phone? Oh, and the student travel visa nightmare. Holy hell. But those things can be worked through.

Honestly, what it really boiled down to was just being kind of exhausted physically and mentally after working at one job at one place for 25 years. I wanted to regroup for a spell -- to take some time to get healthy again, to straighten out my spine from being hunched toward a computer screen reading and evaluating research paper after research paper online (seriously, thousands of them over the years!).

I also felt I needed to be creative again. This feeling was so strong. So here I am. Flying solo personally and professionally at the moment. Writing. Traveling. Teaching a bit of yoga. Working on wine industry certifications.

Just following my heart, following my joy, and leaving myself open. Wholly, fully, completely open.

And I will one day wake up in Rome, just not this morning.

“In this world you're either growing or you're dying so get in motion and grow.” -- Lou Holtz


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