ADVANTAGES

I'm supposed to be in Italy.
All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan.
They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you
to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place
full of pestilence, famine and disease.
It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guidebooks.
You must learn a whole new language.
And you will meet a whole new group of people
you would never have met.
It's just a different place.
It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy.
But after you've been there for a while
and you catch your breath,
you look around, and you begin to notice that
Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips,
Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy
coming and going from Italy,
and they're all bragging about
what a wonderful time they had there.
And for the rest of your life, you will say,
"Yes, that's where I was supposed to go.
That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever go away,
because the loss of that dream is a significant loss.
But if you spend your life mourning the fact
that you didn't get to Italy,
you may never be free to enjoy
the very special, the very lovely things
about Holland.

The Arizona Republic,

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