Australia · humor · traveling

Let Things Happen

“I wish I could do that,” I said, wistfully.

“All you have to do is do it,” she instructed.

“What?” I asked.

“All you have to do is do it,” she repeated.

It’s not that simple,” I explained. “I’m sort of important, and I can’t just walk away.”

All you have to do is do it.”

I was having lunch with a woman I recently met and she was telling me about  spending 5 months with her husband and children living in Ireland. It sounded exciting, but I was vigorously shaking my head, dismissing the idea as impossible.

Her comment haunted me for several days, as I went about my ‘important’ duties as president/CEO of a savings and loan financial institution. I couldn’t get the idea squashed mentally, so I decided to share the notion with my boyfriend of 4 years, knowing he would laugh at the mere thought and put an end to my ponderings.

“Want to take off for 3 months and go to Ireland?” I asked one night over the phone.

“I’d rather go to Australia and stay for 6 months,” he answered.

“WHAT?” I shouted.

I expected him to slam the door shut on this dream, allowing me to blame him for not pursuing a silly fantasy. Instead, he handed me the reigns to our future. It was decision time.

“Just say ‘no can do'”, I said to myself.

“But wouldn’t that be exciting?” my unreasonable self argued.

“Yes, but I doubt that I can take a sabbatical for 6 months,” I explained. “Maybe 3 months, but not 6 months.”

“So, quit your job, rent your house, and stay gone a year,” this crazy self continued. “If you are going to start over don’t limit yourself.”

“That makes sense to me,” I found myself agreeing.

Obviously, I was losing my mind.

But as the days rolled by, and my brain began to work out details, the possibilities out weighed the sameness that faced me if I stayed.

Why not risk my present? At 45, I could find a job when I returned. I wouldn’t lose my talents and abilities. In fact, new experiences would make me more desirable.

It is amazing what one grows to believe with a bit of encouragement.

Eight months and a wedding later, we boarded a plane to ‘down under’. Taking our seats, Jack turned to me and asked, “Can we let things happen this year, rather than make things happen?”

Not understanding what he was talking about, I glibly said “of course”. But he stopped me with his hand on my arm, and repeated his question:

“Can we let things happen, and not make things happen?”

I paused, and thought about my answer. Was I willing to let go of control? Not have a plan? Allow life to flow unimpeded and enjoy the spontaneity that comes when expectations are set aside?

I nodded yes, not realizing living spontaneously would be the most difficult thing I had ever done. Put down my calendar, toss aside any agenda. Be willing to take one day at a time and follow what ‘felt’ right, even if my head screamed “foolish”.

‘Why not?’ became my mantra for the next year allowing time to flow freely, without preconceived ideas.

Spend another day in Melbourne or catch the train heading north? Spend a night in Walla Walla just because we liked the name of the town? Decide where to live based on whether we could pronounce the name. Walk the beach or read a book? Enjoy sitting naked on the beach, or be the only person attired with more than a beach towel?

We were free to decide minute by minute.

All we had to do was do it.

And we did.


11 thoughts on “Let Things Happen

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