~gut compass~

August 6th, 2008


Before we moved to Europe last January, we considered several locations based on Ali’s business headquarters and such. A big possibility was Beijing, which I vetoed for a lot of reasons, oppressive architecture being the least on a list that included terrorist threats, a quasi-police state, apocalyptic air quality, and the 2008 Olympics. I lived in Los Angeles through the 1984 Olympics, and never again is all I’m saying.




But much of the decision to come to Switzerland or leave Brooklyn at all was simply our gut-instinct at work. We knew we were ready–fairly desperate–for a change, so the fact that neither of us had been to China, Switzerland, Ireland, or many of the places we were considering was not an issue. This gig was offered and in six weeks we were here, having passed a week in Dublin already. A little “leap then look” and exciting for that.



Gabled houses along the Herengracht or “Gentleman’s Canal”.


A city not offered at the time–that I never-the-less was really rooting for–is Amsterdam. It’s not that I’ve longed to live here for eons, or had even been here. I simply had a gut feeling. Crabs–Cancer is my astrological sign, if you give truck to such things–have notoriously reliable instincts (along with ease of bruisability, caretaker habits, and a tenacious–some might say exasperating–honor of the past).

My crustacean instinct rarely steers me wrong, and I’ve followed it into some pretty curious tide pools–mostly involving housing, romance, career. No biggies.



There is a “Pozenboot”–a house boat reserved for kitties, where they go to get fed.


As Jeanette Winterson once so succinctly put it, “What you risk reveals what you value.”
Life is a gift to be honored, you try to bring your best self to it. For me that means: risk it all (or as much as you are able). What is it for otherwise? And what’s to lose really? We die and there it is: the biggest gift is also the greatest loss, if you chose to see it as such. The rest seems small.

The notion of security is an illusion–all we can do is make educated guesses and trust our gut–and thus security has never been higher on the list than freedom, adventure, challenge, experience, sensation (not to howl to the ramparts here) and as much and as varied pleasure as a person can rightfully claim.


Plus a little extra for the rainy days.


At nearly forty I still think as I did as a twenty-year-old on this subject. I am in fact far more courageous now in applying this theory–and with higher stakes–as is evidenced in choices such as “quit solid, high-paying job you never expected to have”, or “get married”. So far, so good.
This I ‘spose could be an impromptu manifesto of the Curious Voluptuary…

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