stubbornness abroad

PRAGUE – It’s three o’clock in the morning and I’m sitting on the curb of a deserted street in Prague – backpack beside me, friends to my right, river below me. And there is a smile on my face. Maybe it was the delirium setting in, but there was indisputably a smile there.

Rewind to nine o’clock. My friends and I sit divided in our hostel room. It has never happened to us, but we are in disagreement about how to carry on with our night. Tensions rose and eventually we set out of our hostel door with no plans and heightened sensitivity.

We walk the cobblestoned streets and talk like strangers. Eventually, we say nothing at all. It’s my last night in Prague and I have to catch a bus at three o’clock in the morning – so no clubs for me. Or pubs. Or anything alcohol-related. But still we follow our friends who didn’t have our unfortunate flight time on a pub-crawl.

It started out predictably sketchy – an alleyway meet up with a middle-aged dude whose English is shaky at best followed by a five-minute walk to a smoky pub.

I’m still holding on to my resistance to this plan. I am almost determined to not have fun – to be the martyr of The Night Out, living proof that nothing good is to come from the events of this night.

But then I thought about those words that are flashing across my mind. I am actively snubbing fun, enjoyment, Prague – I am consciously making a decision to ruin my night to prove that these plans would ruin my night.

How backwards is that?

My hand was clenched around what I wanted, what I thought was right, what I, I, I… So much so that I couldn’t grasp anything else. Holding on to my stubbornness wasn’t going to make my night any better. So I decided to let it go (cue readers to start singing “Let It Go” in their head…) and see what this night in Prague held for me.

It started out with an overly drunk guy waddling over to our table and hitting on an engaged friend and ended in a five-story club dancing to eighties hits with my raincoat tied around my waist like the 2000s never happened.

We walked the Prague streets – through historical squares, past ancient clock towers, over legendary bridges – thinking not of a plan or what we wanted to do or anything else except the fun that can be had between good friends.

Joy knows no circumstance. It is wherever you want it to be, so long as you choose to look for it. Had I stuck to my stubborn ways, the drunk guy would have been too annoying to be funny and the club would have been too loud to be able to stand.

But it didn’t end up like that. I ended up having the time of my life doing things that could have gone either way – and they didn’t go the wrong way because of luck or circumstance or coincidence, but because of a personal choice to readjust my outlook on the events playing out in front of me.

It’s three o’clock in the morning and I’m on a curb in Prague waiting for the bus that comes in fifteen minutes. It starts to rain. My friends and I look at each other and laugh. We’re in Prague, we just danced on a disco floor to the Macarena, we have a flight back to our home in London. Why hold onto something when you can reach for so much more?

My hands unclench and open up to the world of possibilities.

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