It’s funny how even the simplest platitude, when offered as advice or encouragement at the precisely correct moment by the correct person, can kick-start a wonderful new chain of reasoning that may even result in an “Aha!” moment and then, potentially, a new action. And, hopefully, that action holds within its energy a positive reaction. Sometimes a platitude isn’t a platitude at all, but a mantra.
This is just the sort of thing that happened to me several months ago. I was at my parent’s house just outside Toronto video chatting with my two dear friends who live in Japan. I had recently returned from living there for two years myself and was telling them about my plans for the near future. To sum up said plans briefly: my boyfriend (an American I’d met while living in Osaka) would soon be returning to Japan from a 3-month boat trip around the world on which he was volunteering as an English teacher. After spending a couple of weeks there, he would be coming up to Canada to meet my family and then I would be going down to California to meet his. Then, we hoped I’d be able to move to California for a while so that we could test out our relationship on the mainland.
Suffice it to say I was wary of what was to come. Could we export this ex-pat romance? And if so, how? We hadn’t been imported from the same nation or even the same coast. Nationality aside, would we even work outside the charmed lives we had in Japan? We had lived together for 6 months in Osaka but it hadn’t been without its bumps, would those bumps become mountains once we got off the island? I had all these concerns in spite of the fact that when it had been time for him to set sail we’d both affirmed that we wanted to stay together. Months later, I still felt the same way. And, through the limited amount of communication we’d had (a couple of detailed emails at the start, a few SEVERELY choppy phone calls in the middle, and the one and only video chat towards the end), as far as I knew he still felt the same way, too. Absence makes the heart grow more insecure and I had this terrible feeling we might be doomed, that when we finally laid eyes on each other after nearly 4 months we’d realized we’d lost it somewhere across the Pacific…or the Atlantic.
For the most part I kept my fears of distance breaking our bond to myself and instead vented my fears by telling those around me I was worried that maybe we wouldn’t get along in a new lifestyle or that maybe the issue of our nationalities might get the better of us, what with my lack of a Green-card or work-visa-getting career.
So there I was, telling A&P, the two people I’d consulted about everything that mattered over the last 24 months, about how there was a strong chance I’d be moving to California come the New Year. “But I mean who knows really? Maybe it won’t work out,” I heard/saw myself saying to them through the interweb, “but we’ve got to give it a try or we’ll never know.” I’d uttered these words a lot over the last few months, “we’ve got to give it a try or we’ll never know.” They may have sounded optimistic to the outside world but the more I said them the more they sounded like a sad attempt to convince myself to do something that would likely end in heartbreak. P, with whom I share a few personality traits, likely sensed that I needed reinforcements and said, “You know what they say Bane: nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Um, wow. Off went a million synapses that had never gone off when I’d been trying to pep myself up with one-liners, and at the end of that conversation I felt a new optimism burgeoning inside me.
Now my referring to P’s words of encouragement as a platitude or one-liner may sound disparaging but it’s certainly not meant to be. It’s just a simple truth that expressions of this nature (i.e.: “this too shall pass”) are textbook examples of canned advice. Now, P’s a very intellectual guy and he wasn’t saying this in a cheesy cheerleader way. He said it wryly and he said it because what else can you genuinely say to your friend when you know just as little as they do about what the future holds? Once the words hit my ears I think the exact sound my brain made was “Duh!” Of course I have to go out on a limb and take a chance if I expect something good to happen. The answer to how my sailor and I will transplant our Asian-grown love to the Americas isn’t going to reveal itself to us without some action on our part. Duh, duh, duh! Thank you, P! This was my mantra up until the day I boarded the plane to come and live here for 6 months. It’s my mantra even now as the future is still rather undefined.
For those who are wondering, our love has been thriving in its new climate. I think we’re stronger than ever and most of those bumps have been leveled out. Our relationship is like a plant… and like a road.
Now, this finally brings us to the blog. I want to be a writer. That’s pretty much the long-and-short of it. I’d love to have a career writing about life(style), travel, and/or art. It’s an old dream but a new era in my life, so I think the time could be right to give it a real go. To tell the truth I feel pretty insecure about it, but “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” While I’m here I can’t work for money but I can work on my craft and this seems like a good place to start.
Here’s to venturing!