Most of my life has been decided by impulsive decisions. Instead of researching, weighing options, planning and all things of that responsible nature, I leap. I really don’t mean to romanticize it entirely because in truth, I would probably save myself a lot of trouble if I thought things through just once. But my god, I have some stories to tell.
The particular impulse that led me to Florence is one that comes from a place of self exploration that started three years ago when I impulsively broke up with a long-term boyfriend during one of our eye-roll-worthy, over the phone arguments. After the break-up and a slew of fantastically impulsive choices following it, (some, admittedly, bordering on regrettable) I found myself on a flight to Florence, Italy where I would quickly fall in love with the city, new friends, a boy and for the first time, myself. Six months, nine countries, countless new friends, one heartbreak and a million laughs later, I returned home validated. Impulsivity had been good to me.
Once I made it back to the reality of New York, the idea of returning to Florence was a sort of far fetched daydream. An abstract whispering that I felt the need to suppress (unless of course I had indulged in a few glasses of wine. Then it was all, “FLORENCE, I’M COMING HOME!”) But the idea of impending adulthood made me think I had to renounce my spontaneous nature and make thoughtful, appropriate and responsible decisions *Snore*
It wasn’t until I graduated and recognized that I had no plan, no interesting job offers and no real reason to stay in New York that I let the idea of a Florence return really take root. And just like that, I found myself on a one way flight back to Italy. I didn’t have a concrete job offer, no definite place to live. I had no money in the bank and no fear.
And while I know my parents would love it if this were more of a lesson in the opposite direction, if I realized things work better when you have a plan (and a reliable income), I can’t help but feel validated all over again.
My last eight months in Florence have certainly not been without hiccup. I can’t legally work or travel because I (impulsively) didn’t apply for a visa. Prior to my current work and living situation, I had a particularly horrendous one. And my bank account is still pretty damn empty.
But I’ve built a family here that accepts me at my most ridiculous and most unlovable and invites me over Christmas. I began working with a child who drives me absolutely nuts and has also made me a better person. My lack of funds motivated me to begin freelance work which has propelled my writing career forward; a choice I never would have had the confidence to make before. And I guess that’s the most rewarding part. The confidence. When you give yourself no option other than to figure it out, you figure it out. You recognize your resilience and competence. You find a certain strength in being alone where you used to find only anxiety. You realize that there’s not one damn thing to be afraid of (except maybe spiders and the Muppets) and that what some people might call impulsivity, you call living your life.
You can spend forever weighing options and talking yourself out of what you want because it’s not practical. You can say ‘it’s not the right time’ or ‘I’ll do it later’.
…Or you can just go for it. Some people may call that irresponsible. Some people may call it brave. I’ve begun calling it the only thing that makes sense for me. Spend the money on that trip. There’s always more money to be made. Fall in love with that person, move to another country, quit the job you hate, go back to school, start writing that book. Do whatever it is that you’ve been talking yourself out of. Follow your impulses because they know you best. At the very least, you’ll have a story to tell.