DECISION TIME

Intuition is a funny thing. A tool I have used instinctively for most of my life, I have recently come to notice that, as I age, my brain takes over more often. For a while I thought this was good, that I was finally making choices based on those pros and cons lists I was never much a big fan of but now I am not so sure anymore. The irrational has always worked for me down the line – eventually my crazy decisions, the ones my mother would object to with a feeble “but are you sure?” knowing all too well that changing my mind would have been impossible, always proved to be choices that made sense. Or, at least, they were never disastrous. Fear of the unknown is winding its way into how I navigate now and, as every sailor knows, as long as the navigation instruments are working, everything else will take care of itself.

I am bringing this up at this moment in time because my intuition tells me that big changes are afoot. As our world order goes through upheavals and many of our economic circumstances might have changed, I am probably not alone in feeling that life as we know it is coming to an end. I have always enjoyed embarking in new adventures, reinventing myself – being the same person over the course of our average life span of 72 years always felt limiting to me. During the most difficult times, predictability had a nice allure but I am conscious that boredom would set in rather quickly – it’s just not for me, with a view of life too often informed, right or wrong, by sweeping stories in which my nose is buried. Writers say their characters take over their stories and, if I am allowed a similar metaphor, I always let my character carry me along, not entirely sure where I would find her once the page is turned. I don’t know this time either or maybe I do but I haven’t allowed the decision to surface yet.

One of the options I have been considering is to move back to Italy and start a business – an idea that makes little practical sense during a recession, in a conservative country whose buying habits are generally set in stone and where people are harder pressed than in other places to part with their money. I would never leave until my American citizenship is approved – I do want to see the fruit of having to answer questions ranging from “Were you ever affiliated with the Nazi party?” to “Are you a terrorist?” and I do want to participate in the emotional swearing-in ceremony. We have nothing of the kind in Italy where patriotism is mainly a noun in the dictionary with scarce applications in people’s lives.

When I think of Italy, I think of a me that doesn’t exist anymore or, rather, a me that has so evolved that I am not sure I can bottle some of the genie back up to conform to the many stodgy aspects of Italian life.  Recently I have been trying to analyze how other people close to me come to their decisions and I haven’t gotten very far. How do you? Do you just let events take over or do you plan eons in advance? Do you visualize what you want or do you procrastinate? Do you let others decide for you and do you take others into consideration? Or is it purely a selfish process? Are you more cautious than you used to be or do you still live as if there is no end in sight? I am curious. Whatever is round the bend, thank you for staying tuned.

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