Ricalcola Percorso


The phrase means “recalculating route.”We keep getting that message on our rental Renault because we like to play with the navigation on it, but when we’re close to home we ignore its commands and take the shortcut we know.

But, as The Spartan Woman mentioned this morning, it’s a metaphor for our lives. Until a few months ago, I had a day job with decent pay, sparse benefits, at a media company that shall not be named. (A few of us are recalcoling our percorsi, but that’s another post, another time, maybe another dimension.)

Now I don’t. I jokingly tell people here in Perugia that rather than being “disoccupato” (umemployed), I’m a “libero professionista” (independent professional).

Gotta say, I don’t miss going to a newsroom every day. For some reason, not being there didn’t feel as big as a shock as I thought it might be. Looking back, I already had a foot out the door. I was working from home more and more, working from abroad more and more, and in general, disengaging myself mentally as well as physically. I was always moving around, though, even if I was at the same company. After a long haul at one publication, I had machine and expensive software lust and turned into an IT dude. (Some of you might remember that and wince; I liked projects, grew to loathe printers and wires.) Then back to editing, but with a big writing component, along with what was for awhile a burgeoning freelance side career.

It’s funny, though. I have a restless spirit, but at the same time I like certain rituals. Or, more to the point, I like creating rituals with friends and family and then keeping to them for awhile. (Since we’re apostate Catholics, we skipped all the religious milestones that are basically excuses for kids’ parties.) So, oyster shucking and cider and/or Prosecco  drinking with my kids, Eastertime dinner with Greek friends, exploring Brooklyn or Queens ethnic restaurants with friends or the kids.

We’re easing into new rituals here in Italy, where we’re doing some house stuff, some work and networking. Similar rituals, different percorsi. Dinner with our friends upstairs (good food, and gentle advice, and cute kids), a morning and evening hike. At the same time, being here means that it’s easy to, well, recalculate our path and explore places we haven’t been. We’re starting to do that in Italy, and have taken advantage of some cheap European flights, too. One summer, we went to Barcelona for a few days for just a few hundred euros.


[Beware of dog people.]

And so in New York, too. An old friend and colleague of mine, Sue Reisinger, told me that it was important to have routines, something to anchor myself, to substitute for the day job. Kathy and I already had the morning routine of taking the dogs to the park. Now that walk with Henry and Lola is later and longer. And I go to the pool as much as I can. I swim with the old dudes, breaking into their routine—two of them can’t always just split the lane between them because of me, the interloper.

Here in Italy, the rhythm of everyday life anchors you. Get up fairly early, make coffee, check email. Do errands, stop for a midmorning espresso and maybe a tramezzino or cornetto. Soon, it’s time for pranzo (midday meal, from a sandwich to a multi course thing out in the country). Then the midday pause. Work or nap (I want to do both right now), then it’s aperitivo time with friends, if they’re around. What? It’s dinner time? And so on. Notice that the two meals anchor the day…


The pizza boscaiola at Mediterranea, the best pizzeria in Perugia

[Updated to fix some typos. Everyone needs an editor.]

4 thoughts on “Ricalcola Percorso

  1. Sounds great. From now on I’m just going to tell people that I’m a “libero professionista” – it sound likes like one part writer, one part gun-fighter. Business card with a chess knight logo. Very cool. Plus you get to eat great pizza with forest mushrooms.


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