|The Nile River, from the Cairo Tower. Downtown Cairo.|
During the month of June, I went to Egypt for three weeks with a group of students and other alumni from my alma mater. I was supposed to be finding a new teaching job during that time frame, going to a reunion picnic with former classmates at my other alma mater (grad school) to make contacts, and writing my thesis in my current endeavors (grad school again - different master's program, but worthwhile if you teach in Kentucky and want a pay raise!). Instead, I had this opportunity come across my plate and I snatched it. I'll probably never go to Egypt again, and I may not even get the chance.
So where am I going with this? Well, a bit of marketing went a long way for me - as I was clicking to see what Chef Eric Ripert said about last week's challenge on Top Chef (yes, we're foodies in this household), I got to watch the trailer for Eat, Pray, Love first. And suddenly I got it.
|Various forms of transportation on the Giza Plateau.|
Julia Roberts' character went on a trip of a lifetime, because this was her life, and she was going for it. I remember saying almost the same words, and I knew exactly what her character felt. I've been there. But it's both more complex and more rudimentary at the same time. Since I haven't read the book - no time for fiction this summer! - I can't say what spurs her to take such drastic action as booking a trip to parts unknown. But I know that feeling of letting your life pass you by.
The complexity? We somehow get the notion that life doesn't really start for us until we're on our own, finished with school, living in our own digs, signing up for our own utilities, etc. And that's just not true. So society's rules teach us one thing, but we have to learn to ignore them: just because we don't have that all-important career or that "grown-up" car, we're still living our lives. There are no do-overs, and that's where the rudimentary part comes in. You don't have to get it perfect the first time around, but you do need to be present, because you will never be here again. You only get one shot at life, so better to make it count than worry about the things that don't matter.
|One of the ancient Wonders of the World, in all its glory.|