"So.... I don't get it. What's the issue?"
I could just picture her, worlds away, staring at her computer screen, sitting in a comfy chair or maybe even snuggled up in a cozy bed, tea on the nightstand, her glasses resting on the tip of her nose. "Well I don't really know" I quickly typed back, "It's just something different. I don't know what I'm doing and I'm feeling shy about it." After a brief pause she began typing a message, the words popped up on my screen, and as I began to read over them I instantly felt better.
"Things come in surprising ways" she concluded after a ten minute back and forth debate about letting go and giving in to the experience of something new and unknown. And as I minimized our conversation window, staring at the list of tasks I had yet to accomplish at work, I felt a wave of sadness rush over me. Of course I was sad because I miss her everyday, but the feelings ran a bit deeper than that on this particular afternoon in the office.
Scanning over the photos hanging up in my cubicle memories of elephant rides in Thailand, late nights drinking wine in Florence and long bus rides across India, I realized that stepping out of your comfort zone is extremely easy to do when you actually are already out of your comfort zone. In traveling, you never know what will come your way and it is quite normal to expect the unexpected as everyday is a new adventure and another chance to try something different. Here in my new-found "young professional" life however, new adventures are hard to come by considering the most unexpected and exciting thing that occurs in my day is when a co-worker surprises us with a box of doughnuts. Don't get me wrong, I love my new job and I really love a good old fashioned doughnut every once in a while, but trading in my jeans and boots for blazers and a nice pair of flats somehow also meant trading in my spontaneity for routine and familiarity, only putting my wander-lusting tendencies on hold for the time being.
My thoughts drifted to my dear friend, living and working in Europe, learning languages, learning love and learning herself. It had always been me giving her the advice before now, sending her emails from the middle of the ocean or a quick text message in between flights. "Let go" i'd tell her, "you don't have to have all the answers now, they'll come to you. Be patient and trust the process". And now, today here we are, and it is her giving me the advice. It is me that needs her words and reassurance.
"What have you got to lose?" she said before signing off and heading to bed. Contemplating her statement, I assessed the situation. "What do I really have to lose?" I thought. Nothing. "Miss you everyday. And thank you. I needed that." I responded quickly before refocusing my attention on my afternoon of meetings and projects.
When I got home from work that day I got to thinking. I thought about the crazy adventures that she will have this weekend in a foreign city, turning strangers into friends and opening every door within herself to the opportunity of experience. I thought about the ways in which I too have been open to new people, cultures and ideas in the past and I wondered, why is it that just because i've developed a routine, I am closing myself to new and different experiences of my own within my new life? Just because I pack my lunch every morning, sit in traffic and classify myself as a young professional, doesn't mean I can't seek out opportunities to get to know someone or to open myself to uncharted territories within this city. "Things come in surprising ways" she told me from oceans away, and though I may not be staring at the Alps or learning Italian, just waiting for some incredible new adventure to fall into my lap, I know that she is right, and I've never been more grateful for places that we are both in at this moment.