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24# The Times They Are A Changin'

Updated: Feb 17, 2021

If your time to you is worth saving

Then you better start swimmin' Or you'll sink like a stone

For the times they are a changin’

My last days in California were a mix of administrative work and uncertainty. I was negotiating my relocation to Canada with Shitty Sugar. Besides, they Sugar had contracted A&F, a famous accounting firm, to sort out my tax situation. Their lawyers must have realized I had a case and wanted all paperwork straightened out in case I went to court.

I had calls with the A&F accountants in Canada and Morocco. They asked for the terms of my initial relocation to figure out where I should be paying taxes. According to my former boss Angelo, Shitty Sugar didn't hire A&F back then because the VP was cheap. Classic Shitty Sugar.

It was still their responsibility that all Canadian employees complied with the Canada Revenue Agency. Angelo gave me a solid plan to approach the negotiations. We retrieved old emails, prepared the timeline, and set the responsibilities straight. Thank you Angelo. O Captain my Captain!

While talking to the A&F accountant in Morocco, I found out we grew up in the same neighborhood in Marrakesh. I let go of formalities and addressed him as if I had known him forever. The more we talked the more we bonded. On our fourth call, I told him the truth. Where I was, what I did, what were my intentions with Shitty Sugar. Your accountant and your doctor are the two people you should never lie to.

Later on, he wrote me a list of instructions for his Canadian counterpart. According to him, I should be getting money back from the Canadian government, for having paid too much taxes! I was still struggling with my debt from the van and this news came unexpected. Like a car lift when you are waiting for the bus.

On that same week, I experienced my first break up. Back in Montreal, I had been with Natasha, a lovely girl I dated for six months. She is smart, funny, supportive, and beautiful. Natasha understood my situation and made the best out of it. She was the perfect fir for my broke ass: no fancy activities, no social expectations, and no drama.

By the end of my stay, we started having feelings for each other. She knew from the start that I was leaving but we never talked about it. Our first honest conversation happened on that day in California. We were talking on facetime when she asked me to tell her the truth.

The truth was that what we had was incredible and that I loved every moment of it. Unfortunately, I couldn't offer her the future she wanted. Even though our story was over, I wanted to keep her in my life as a friend, and maybe a future lover. I wrote her a letter. She thanked me for it. And until today, we still talk and support each other when in need. Karma is not a bitch, timing is.

While breaking up with Natasha, I realized I expressed myself way better in writing. There is a process to it. Every word you lay on paper could either improve the message or hinder it, hence the need for accuracy. Every iteration was an attempt to improve, a constant chase for perfection.

For the first time, I enjoyed writing. The process of selecting thoughts and laying them on paper, to cut and polish but to keep the essence. It was an art I did not know. When you think about it, writing is the sweet spot where freedom meets creativity. You can reinvent the world, or create a new one. All you need is a thought, a pen, and a piece of paper.

The fear of uncertainty was paralyzing. When in doubt, I look for signs. The times were changing, and the earlier I accepted it the better. Shitty Sugar had been my milk cow for almost a decade. It was the end of an era; no more money falling from the sky. I now had the opportunity to create something meaningful, something I would be proud of.

Shitty Sugar, Natasha…the things I was holding on to were coming to an end. But new doors were also opening. The unexpected help from A&F, the love of writing. Those were the signs, and they were all pointing in the same direction. A new adventure was about to begin. Not the Panamerican trip, but a far greater adventure, an adventure that starts in the mind.

The young Bob was right all along.


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