Deciding Against the Escape Route – Again

Jul 1, 2014 by

          “I’m leaving for Europe a week from Tuesday,” my friend said in disbelief late Sunday afternoon, as we walked along the Danforth on our way to watch Greece play Costa Rica. (Note: I go for no World Cup team except Italy, but I am always down for a party. I proposed soccer on the Danforth in case Greece won by fluke. – They lost by expectation.)

          “I know! I’m so excited for you!” I shrieked. “I can’t believe I’m not going to see you for a month. Weird.”

          “I can’t believe you’re not coming,” he responded.




          With extreme reluctance, I have decided against meeting my friends in Italy this summer, but it is not because I am afraid. Europe doesn’t scare me. (Admittedly though, the willingness with which I was ready to throw caution to the wind because I was tempted by free Italian accommodations and potential drunken memories in piazzas with friends does a little.) Truthfully, I think I was trying to what-would-you-do-if-you-weren’t-afraid my ass out of here a few weeks ago. I was tampering with my own reasoning to favour leaving. I’m really good at that; I’m really good at coming up with solid arguments for both sides of an internal debate. In essence, I’m really good at being indecisive. The day I wrote Eat-Pray-Loving Life is Not Deadly, I was most definitely on Europe’s side. But, honestly, Europe excited me more than it frightened me. What was really scaring me at the time was what I’d be dealing with by staying home. Thankfully, I identified this before booking a one-way.

          I’ve noted that I’ve been anxious lately, but I haven’t given much detail as to why. There are two reasons behind my anxiety, but I’m choosing not to give specifics at this time because doing so could have real-life repercussions. One is within my control. I just haven’t gotten a grip on it yet. The other is frustratingly outside of my control. Since I can’t change it, the best I can do is attempt to change my perspective on it. So far, I haven’t been successful in finding an alternative viewpoint that I actually believe enough to effectively reframe the circumstance.

          When the offer to go to Europe with my friends was extended a second time – this time with the added incentive of a stay-free pass – my stress level was at its peak. Combine an anxious chick on a happiness experiment with an escape route, and you’ve got rationalization that booking a one-way at least one year earlier than intended is a great idea because it is fearless! – Warning: If you haven’t noticed, my thoughts are about to be redirected in opposition to Europe. (I told you I’m really good at this.) – Today, still stressed but more rational, I’m going to argue that, rather than leaving for Europe this summer, what truly concerns me is staying home and addressing these two issues I’ve yet to deal with. Though Europe would abolish one of them completely, the other – the one that’s outside of my control – is not location-dependent. Europe cannot make it go away. Perhaps, aside from the fact that I want more money in my bank account before departing, this is my strongest argument against the escape route: I know it isn’t an escape at all, so why deviate from my plan? I don’t want to run away to Europe. I want to go for the sake of adventure, my emotional baggage checked at the airport. And so, I am deciding against the escape route again. Like the last time I said no to a runaway plan in favour of fixing what needed to be fixed, good things will surely follow.

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