About This Time Last Week…

It was about this time last week that I was lucky enough to be wandering through the streets in Rome. Despite being a pretty avid traveler, I’m embarrassed to admit that my travel plans somehow never quite managed to include this extraordinary city. But here, finally, was my chance. I was honored to be invited to Rome to present some important marketing and branding developments to the board members of ISAPS — the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. To say it was an honor to be invited is a bit of an understatement — the commitment of the ISAPS board is remarkable — eighteen of the world’s finest plastic surgeons taking time out of their busy schedules to devote to raising the standards of aesthetic plastic surgery worldwide. It was both humbling and exhilarating to be part of such an accomplished group. But I digress. Back to my story.

So here I was, finally in Rome, with a couple of hours to spare before the first meeting. So I hit the cobblestone streets and did what any good tourist would — started walking. As someone who is very directionally challenged, whenever I go to a new city, I pretty much throw away the map and follow my intuition — letting the sights of the city reveal themselves to me, getting wonderfully and hopelessly lost on the way (my escape plan usually involves a taxi ride back to the hotel when my time for exploring is up). So there I was, walking the avenues of Rome — passing some heavily armed military personnel along the way, (thanks to the recent attacks in Paris). The bells of St. Peters chimed softly in the distance, and within minutes I’m engulfed by a sea of young Catholic priests who just got out of class and were rushing to catch a cab home.

Down another street, I stumbled on a 150-year-old leather store — the owner a third-generation leather cobbler making custom boots to die for. Everywhere I look, there is spectaculararchitecture — some of it new, some built during the Renaissance era and certainly earlier. As a Vespa comes hurtling down the street, I pin myself against a stone wall that looks like it could have been built in the days of Julius Caesar himself. And before I know it, I’ve stumbled onto the beauty and artistry of the Trevi Fountain, and just around the corner of the breath taking grandeur of Pantheon which, having studied this extensively in high school I can scarcely believe I just “stumbled” on it. As I walked inside, there was the familiar throng of tourists, jockeying for position to read the descriptions of the crypts — particularly of the artist Raphael. The exquisitely carved marble flooring and walls is enough to take your breath away. As I stood in the middle of the Pantheon, I looked upward at the circular hole in the rotunda of the roof where a column of light streamed through — which, at the exact moment, the skies must have opened sending a shower of rain down onto me. I laughed in surprise — wondering how many of millions of people had been given the exact same surprise since the Pantheon was built nearly two thousand years ago in 118 AD — and I was overwhelmed with gratitude. That something so incredibly simple could have such a profound impact — it was one of those moments in time when everything seems to stop, and the bustle of the crowds engulfing you disappears entirely.

In the bustle and busy-ness of this Thanksgiving holiday I hope that you’re able to grab a few quiet moments and take a mental snapshot of your time with friends and family. It seems hardly believable that Thanksgiving is here already. I have no idea where this year went. We’re all so busy doing things faster and more efficiently, and thinking bigger — that it’s really easy to forget about appreciating the most simple things — the smell of a delicious stuffed turkey roasting in the oven, that heartfelt hug your daughter gave you when she ran to greet you, the ever-faithful tail-wagging of your dog greeting you after a day at the office.

I wish you and your family a truly wonderful Thanksgiving.