More than twelve months ago, He set off for a year-long crash course in what He hated to call 'soul searching.' Thinking that He had lost it to begin with was more than disappointing; it was terrifying. What else had been unknowingly dropped through the holes in his mid-Western khaki short pockets?
Having an idea of where the winds would take him but not completely sure of what, The Boy remembered boarding the plane that would whisk him far from the land where his closest family and friends resided. This action, however small it was, would be the first of many times He knew that such a thing as happenstance existed. Despising his parents for enrolling him into karate classes, being forced to become a puppeteer, being one of two boys who were cut from volleyball tryouts, watching as his parents lost almost everything they dreamed of having, first seeing a dance performance in high school, choosing which schools to apply to and which one to attend, falling in and out of love... It all carried him to this year, this place, this state of realizing that He
Wanting to break His curse, The Beast set out to find what it was He so desperately needed. True Love's kiss? Such things only existed in Fairy Tales, and given the circumstances, his story strayed far from that.
... Or not so much.
As a particular french host reminded him on his last night in one of the most romantic cities in the world, "For someone who claims they don't make many friends, there sure were a lot of people to say goodbye to you tonight." This single phrase would unleash a chain of memories He strung together throughout the year. He had found so much love in the flowered shrines of India, in the cement huts of Uganda, along the shores of Australia, within the dimly lit milongas of Argentina, and the cobbled streets of France. Echoes of the most important lessons taught to him resurfaced in a rosy fog, reminding him that
"I never had to choose between passion and profession"
"There is a war in you, and it is coming"
"Wherever you go, there you are"
"You need more presence to lead successfully"
"Being handsome is not enough. Be great, be beautiful"
The Boy, the Beast, the One that Got Away, Our Hero, now the Prince, had chosen his happy destiny [whatever that would be], that much was clear. Whatever complicated pathways were ahead of him, He would face them with everything He learned this year, and with the lessons He would keep learning on this journey [according to the fellowship director, "The Watson is never over. It's just beginning."].
The pieces He found to the jigsaw of his life were now in place, but he knew that there would be so much more to find. The bigger picture was far from complete, but well on its way to being solved. He would remember everyone He met during his travels, and how unstuck they seemed to be in life. Actually, now that he considered it, there were an equal amount of people back home who seemed to be the same. The unfortunate thing was remembering who did become stuck, so immobile and so scared to find their pieces, to complete their picture. What they were holding onto, He'd never be sure.
The Prince would hold hold onto this year, these memories, this feeling like none other, trying to remember the last stanza of a poem he found scribbled on a hostel wall:
There once was a man who'd become unstuck in the world -
and he traveled around like a leaf in the wind until he reached the place
where he started out. His car, his job, his phone, his shoes -
everything was right where he'd left it.
Nothing had changed, and yet he felt excited to have arrived here -
as if this were the place he'd been going all along.
Our Hero had reached the place where He started out, but wouldn't stay there for long. Not when the next journey was waiting to begin.
[Unstuck in the World]