Hard to believe I’m getting to age where I can look back on anything with a decade’s worth of perspective. Hell, I appreciate the fact that I’ve been around long enough to have any perspective at all. With that, I’ve returned to Italy as a tourist rather than an ad agency copywriter.
First impression? I’m not sure I’ve changed as much as Milan has. While it’s entirely possible that I was too busy to really experience the city the first time, it seems to be a far more welcoming place these days. We’ve explored old streets, admired the canal and eaten well in nondescript surroundings. The place has its charm—even after nearly thirty hours without sleep.
Oddly enough the most memorable moment wasn’t the Duomo, the massive plate of $4 pasta or the makeshift bidet in our bargain hotel. The stop that really got me on our 11-hour jaunt through cobblestone and asphalt was accidentally encountering the 4-star hotel where I’d stayed so many years before. We stepped into the lobby and it all came rushing back. All the awkward negotiations with the client. All the last-minute decisions. All the early mornings trying to make ungrateful people happy.
It was that trip down past-client-meeting lane that reminded me that I’ve worked hard to get where I am in life. Career wise. Relationship wise. Squeeze-the-most-out-of-every-moment wise. None of this happened by accident. Good luck may have been a factor, but I can’t discount the determination behind each endeavor.
We have nearly two weeks left in Italy. I still have a couple of places to revisit along the way. I doubt they’ll all come with such moments of clarity. One thing’s for sure, I never would’ve made it here in my 30s had it not been for my ability to put myself in the right place at the right times with some kind of solution for a seemingly endless number ambiguous requests.