Nearly two and a half years ago, on a day in April of 2013, I ran into an acquaintance of mine while having lunch at an outdoor bar here in Austin. His name is Kevin and he is the director of a local start-up business incubator. He does an amazing job of helping people who have a dream but need help and support bringing it to reality. I had met Kevin at his organization back in 2012 when I still thought I had to stay in the business world and find something there after my premature retirement.

Kevin was one of those people who I have mentioned in former posts who would ask me what my passion was. Passion??? The word sounded ridiculous to me when trying to associate it with the business world. I would just avoid the question and think to myself “Should I have a passion?  Is something wrong with me that I don’t seem to?”

After that period of time, my old company contracted me back as a sales coach and trainer. I stopped all the networking that I was doing and settled back into my comfort zone.  Comfort zone yes, but still no passion zone yet for me.

When I ran into Kevin on that spring day, I had only been to Florence alone once the previous November. I knew that I had to return, but I still had no idea to what measure.

Kevin and I were catching up and he grabbed a bar napkin. He asked me to write down what I wanted from life. Understand that Kevin is very talented at stimulating thoughts, dreams and ideas in others. It is what he does for a living. I was still hesitant to answer, but what I wanted from life was somehow easier to come up with than what the heck my passion was.

I thought for a bit and this is what I wrote on that bar nap…

image

Feel free to do what I want to

Full of grace

Surrounded by people with a world view

Be mobile

Live simply but richly

Please understand that I wrote these things down from my heart, not my head.  My heart always rules.  Therefore it was not in me to try to come up with a plan to make those things happen. Planner I am not.

I went home with my little bar nap of dreams, stuck it on the side of my fridge with a magnet and basically forgot about it.

I did return to Florence–and again, and again, and again.  With each visit I became closer and closer to uncovering my passion.  In a beautiful string of events and encounters, my mind began to break out of its prison of musts and cannots.

I met locals and ex-pats in Florence who were in the art world.  And art was certainly my passion.  Of course it was.  It had been as long as I could remember.  The chains of the corporate world had caused me to forget that. Or, perhaps I had hidden it away because I would have missed it too much or felt like too much of failure for having neglected it.

But now, thanks to my beloved Florence and a few wonderful and inspirational friends and acquaintances, I am about to venture off on the biggest adventure of my life.

I am going to live in Florence for over a year and obtain my Masters degree in Renaissance Art History.  I will be renting a tiny apartment in my favorite neighborhood from a friend in Florence and will be walking to and from school each day.  If someone had told me on that April day of 2013 that I would be doing this, I would have said “I wish, but it is impossible”.

Well, there is something  about that word “impossible”.  If you simply add one apostrophe and one space it becomes “I’m possible”.

As I prepare for my move, I have been cleaning my apartment here in Texas.  I was wiping the fridge down one day a few weeks ago and I noticed the bar nap of dreams.  I read it to myself and thought “Oh my Lord, that is exactly what I am doing!”

Feel free to do what I want to

Full of grace

Surrounded by people with a world view

Be mobile

Live simply but richly

Go figure….

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