Yesterday, out of the blue an old friend emailed me something she had written nearly ten years ago about something that happened nearly ten years ago. And immediately upon reading it, I was transported back ten years to a very different time in my life.
Ten years ago I was still in New York; moving back to Los Angeles was still just an inkling of a notion of an idea, never mind moving to Europe. I was working with my writing partner in developing a television show about a rock band. In fact, almost exactly ten years ago, we were in London with that band, doing research, going to gigs, and partying, well, like rock stars. It was a fun time in my life, a time where the sky seemed to be the limit. I don’t regret a minute of it.
The life I am living today is not at all the life I hoped or thought I’d be living when I imagined it ten years ago. I’m not living where I thought I’d be living, I’m not doing what I thought I’d be doing, and some people who I thought would be in my life for a long time are now nothing more than Facebook acquaintances, if that.
I am not saying that this is a bad thing. Ten years ago, I didn’t imagine I’d ever live in Europe because I didn’t even know I was an Italian citizen. Ten years ago, my present-day reality wasn’t even a possibility.
Thinking about where I was ten years ago, naturally moves my thoughts to where I might be ten years from now. I’m not sure if this is true for other expats, but for me, since moving to Europe I find that if I think ten, five, even three years into the future I start to freak out. Expats, I think, lead lives with a greater degree of uncertainty about their future. We don’t necessarily know how long we will stay in a certain place or where we will end up next. That can be a scary concept for a control freak such as myself.
Albert Einstein is quoted as saying that he “never thinks of the future, it comes soon enough.” And now that I am settling into my expat life in Dublin, I am making a conscious effort to do the same. One thing I can definitely take away from looking back ten years is that the future, despite my best efforts to shape it, will most likely do whatever the hell it wants anyway, so why sweat it? Life, especially the expat life, is something to enjoy in the moment.
And I’m going to go outside on this gorgeous Sunday in Dublin and do just that.