Picture it: 2006.
I’m sitting in the back corner of a bookstore in California flipping through Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. At this point, it wasn’t yet a world wide phenomena. It didn’t have a film deal. Julia Roberts had likely not have even heard of it yet. It was just a book that had a great intro that made me want to keep reading. After an hour or so, around chapter 8, I stood and bought the book. A few days later, when I finished the last morsel of Chapter 108, I closed the book and realized that if she could change her life, so could I. And so I began.
Fast forward 2014.
I’m standing in front of a crowd of people in Paris. I have a microphone in my hand and am telling Elizabeth Gilbert herself what happened from that moment in 2006 until this moment in 2014. Then I hand her a copy of Paris Letters. My own travel memoir inspired by her travel memoir. The crowd erupts in applause.
If there is a cloud after Cloud 9, that’s the cloud I was on.
During the Q&A, Elizabeth Gilbert was asked when she felt the peak of her success. She didn’t state the obvious: the success of Eat, Pray, Love, her Ted talk or the success of her new book Signature of All Things.
“The moment I got on the plane to Rome. Since then, everything has been pretty great.”
It was the best answer.
Since I got on the plane to Paris, everything has been pretty great for me, too. The Universe seems to have conspired to help me create a life conducive to telling my story of how I did to myself what Cher did to Nicolas Cage in Moonstruck.
I snapped out of the hypnotic lull of a dull but secure paycheck and found a life full of pretty things and magical moments. And the crazy thing is that the paycheck still comes. It’s not as regular and the numbers aren’t always the same, but the money I make is made in a very fun way: Book sales and letter subscriptions. Lovely.
If I were to answer the question, What was the peak of my success, I’d have a different answer.
It wasn’t meeting Elizabeth Gilbert, even though it was an astounding moment and am so very blessed that it happened. And it wasn’t Rome, Paris or London. It wasn’t even the lovely Christophe or Paris Letters.
The peak of my success is a quiet one.
And it happens every day.
At 8:20 each morning, as I sip my coffee and write my daily pages in my journal, I hear a door open and close. It’s my upstairs neighbor leaving for work. In my old life, I left for work at 8:20, too. Sometimes seeing 8:20 on the clock made my want to cry. Now, remembering back, I smile and take another sip of coffee. In a mug. In my apartment. In my yoga pants. Knowing I have a full day ahead of me to do what I want to do.