"Because it's Paris, bitch."
I made my final decision regarding drupalcon Paris this morning. In the time since I've known about the location of the event I've gone back and forth on the question until it felt like madness and whiplash. Do I spend the money? Is it worth it? How will I explain to my friends? Am I right to burn vacation days on this madness?
Until this morning, I had plausible deniability and weasel words. "I think I'm going," I would say. "Not sure, though."
This morning's announcement on twitter forced me to choose. I knew that drupalconDC sold out, so I knew I should make my decision quickly. I wasn't expecting the decision this morning, though, while sitting on the couch in my comfy shorts and contemplating quilty goodness.
I do not always live my life to its fullest potential. I am aware of this. I am also aware of no one who actually manages that lofty goal. We have day jobs, commitments, cats to feed and Wednesday meetings to attend. I may take pride in the fact that my friends may set their watches by my daily schedule, but I don't always have to like it.
I asked myself one question this morning:
"Are you living life, Amy, or are you marking time?"
It's a question worth asking every now and then, to ensure you're making good choices. I'm too much the pragmatist to ever fully embrace hedonism, but some chances are good gambles. Not every adventure is a shot in the dark.
"But," I thought, "the circumstances."
True. They aren't great. I'll miss part of dragon*con, and more importantly, Jeff can't go. But dragon*con will roll around again during Labor Day next year, and I can treat this trip as a sneak peek, so that next time I come back as an insider and show Jeff the city in a way that does it justice.
It's not perfect. But, I whispered to myself, there will never be a perfect time to go, nor the perfect circumstances. I booked the ticket before I could change my mind -- and with that, I was in, I was committed, I was utterly scared shitless and dialing the phone to call two East Coast friends as I headed to Kinko's. I had made up my mind, and the first ripple effect was already in play: I needed to renew my passport, and to do so I needed new passport photos.
The second call made me laugh. "I thought you were going to talk yourself out of it." I admitted that I very nearly had, and he laughed, "because it's Paris, bitch." I agreed I'd need an empty bag just to bring nibbles back for my friends for what could be a legendary Saturday-night dragoncon feast.
Life's been a long, frustrating slog for the past three years. It shows in the entries that don't get written and the sadness in the entries that do. I've felt -- dampened, muted, like I've lost track of the qualities that made me live life a little more brightly, a little more loudly.
I don't know if I'll ever have another chance to go to Paris. I intend to shape my life so that this is just the first chance of many, but life is a capricious, unpredictable wench. Yes, I'm nervous as hell about this trip: I don't speak the language, I've never been there before, and I'm going alone. But you know what? This is the opportunity I have, right here, right now. Maybe there won't be another.
Detroit reminded me of something: I am capable of more than I give myself credit for.
It's been too long since I tackled a new city with little more than my hiking boots, fare for mass transit, camera gear, a compass, and a map. It's time to remind myself of what life's like when you can't predict what the day will hold.
Let me know what you want from Paris. You've got a couple of months to make your requests, but so help me Air France, I'm going.