Not my words. In all honesty, up until three days before the U.S. Open Women’s Finals I hadn’t heard of either Flavia Pennetta or Roberta Vinci: the former won this year’s Open and the latter beat Serena Williams in the semi-finals. When I learnt the final would be between two Italian players, I paid attention enough to read a brief article about the match, at the end of which Flavia Pennetta announced she was going to retire from tennis, still quite unsure what the future has in store for her. She doesn’t have a plan B.
Some friends and family members, over the years, have called “courageous” some of the decisions I took in my life: moving to countries where I didn’t know a single soul; or where I didn’t have a job; launching myself in love affairs that were, at best, controversial. Somehow, things always turned out fine and I secretly felt like a fraud for being deemed courageous. I might have not always had a well thought out plan B, but there was always a safety net and I knew in my heart the fall wouldn’t be disastrous. And it never was, not even when things didn’t work out or when they worked out vastly differently than I had envisioned.
I am not the gambling type. Most of us aren’t, especially as we get older and the stakes get higher. Major decisions are reasoned out, tangibles and intangibles weighed on the scale and impulsivity left for minor league decisions. Only when life suddenly decides on our behalf, are we left to fend in the dark. And life, by and large, rewards us with taking care of itself.
Meticulous planner and list-maker than I am, I could benefit from turning left, when the navigator tells me to go right; to leave things to chance when I find myself imagining every possible outcome; from cutting the cord from people or situations even if I have no sense of what will unfold; from leaving the ducks free to run around instead of insisting they align in perfect rows.
They always find the way home. And when they don’t, and fly away, the unexpected begins. And it’s not always a bad thing.