Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The countdown

2 weeks from today I’ll be leaving Rome…

As I write those words I still can’t believe its true. Where did the time go? I feel like I just got here and yet nearly 3 months have passed since I first arrived. Initially I planned to go home for the holidays and return to Rome in the New Year. This was based on the idea that I would have a great apartment to return to... not the case. Lord knows I can’t and won’t stay in this SanLo apt a second longer than I have to. And with no home to return to I don’t know if I’ll be returning at all.

Leaving Rome feels almost like a breakup. Even though the city kicked my ass a few times, I loved it here and the fact that I have to say goodbye so soon is heartbreaking. But when I look back at this experience, it won’t be Rome that makes me smile the most. What I will think of most is how Rome served as a base for me to explore this beautiful country. Before I arrived I made a list of 19 Italian cities I wanted to visit while living in Rome—I’ve since crossed off 13 of them and that fact thrills me to no end. I have seen the most incredible sights and have collected experiences that I'll be able to savor for a lifetime.

But more than anything Italy brought me back to myself. Just a few months ago I woke up to the realization that the life I was living wasn't for me. The nearly 10 years I spent working in my field were great, perfect for the girl I was then. But by the time I got back from Paris I had finished that chapter and was ready to move on to something new. What? I didn't know. But then there I was, back in that same old job, feeling miserable under the weight of other people's expectations... until I decided to return to Paris. And from there began my journey of being totally authentic to myself. Loving myself enough to ensure my own happiness, seeking out my life's purpose, trusting my instincts, taking a leap of faith. By coming to Italy I proved to myself that I have the strength to start over; that doing things for the simple fact that you want to is not always a bad thing and definitely not something to be ashamed of; that sometimes the unclear road is the best one to take. And finally, I learned to love this period of uncertainty. To really relish in the simple act of living just as strongly during the times of doubt (as Rilke phrases it, "living the question") as when you're floating through life with a concrete plan in place. Its the most valuable lesson I can take home with me. Boy, have I lived. And by now I've walked too far in the right direction to start moving backwards... the road is still uncertain but I'm finally at peace with that and I'm excited about what will come next.

Speaking of strength, last year I saw Benjamin Button and this speech from the final scene really resonated with me:

“For what its worth, its never too late to be whoever you wanna be. There’s no time limit; start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same—there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it… I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. And if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”

I'm going to enjoy my last days here: spending time with friends, traveling around Lazio, eating everything I can get my hands on and just soaking up the magic of Italy. Living here has been surreal and I’m really going to miss this crazy place. The good news is that I've thrown enough coins in the Trevi Fountain... I'll be back :)

22 comments:

  1. Amazing and a life truly worth living.

    I can't wait to read about your next line of adventures.

    Hopefully our paths will cross in time. :)

    Enjoy your time in Italy.

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  2. i have really enjoyed your blogs you have inspired me to go for what i want to do your a great writer and remember take your own advice dont give up you can always start over good luck

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  3. Enjoy every last second and definitely have a gelato or 50 for me :) !!

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  4. Wishing you Godspeed on your continuing travels...

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  5. Cynthia- thank you, i will!

    LoveSounds- thanks so much! and good luck to you too!

    Emily- haha naturally i've been eating a ridiculous amount of gelato in the last few days. see you in NYC hopefully! :)

    Karen- thank you :)

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  6. I just saw Benjamin Button last week. That final speech really resonated with me. When I heard the speech I thought he was talking to me! For the past year I've been afraid to start over. I was so afraid of the uncertain, not having concrete plans, and the disappointment of not meeting the expectations defined by others (sound familiar?). When I found your blog it was like a fire was lit in me. Here I was reading your story (similar to mine) and realizing your OK, happy and loving life. The fears that I had were unwarranted; the sky didn't fall and the world didn't end!

    Inspiration comes from many places and your blog inspired me to start over and enjoy this period of uncertainty in my life! Thanks for that!

    I'm sure you'll find your way back to Italy sometime, but in the meantime enjoy the time you have left and keep us posted!

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  7. sugar150 - wow thanks for your comment. It means a lot to hear that someone has been in any way inspired by the things that I've done. It's funny b/c when I started blogging I never imagined anyone other than my friends or family would be interested in my ramblings. So to hear that my stories have resonated with other people is a great feeling. I look forward to hearing about your adventures one day as well. We only have one life to live right? :)

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  8. We only have one life is right and I plan to live it to the fullest!


    sugar150

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  9. Absolutely love the Benjamin Button quote and this post! Best of luck to you. Whatever comes next, I know you'll enjoy it.

    PS- I hope you don't mind if I link to this!

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  10. Girl, please keep doing what is best for YOU. Be damned what anyone else says. Personally, I am envious that you were strong enough to fulfill your dreams and keep going. Just think about it, you will always have Rome. Not many people can say that.

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  11. Tausha- thank you! And link away!

    Rhonalala- Thanks girl... it is nice to know that I know this city as a local now and not just a tourist. Its been great :)

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  12. Im gonna miss reading your blog I loved it and I agree that quote is really moving and inspires as well to live my life to the fullest.

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  13. Ciao, Stacy!! I'm sad to hear you're leaving Rome... but are you heading back to fabulous Paris? I'm glad you got a chance to have some amazing experiences, meet some great people who I'm sure you'll keep in touch with -- and as you said, you now know Rome as a LOCAL, not a tourist.

    I only lived in Florence for seven months, but as all us expats know, they're like "dog years!" LOL You really do live mini-lifetimes during those experiences. So now you can add yet ANOTHER world-class city to your list of places you've LIVED. How many young sistas can say that? Not enough, I'm afraid.

    SO, so proud of you for living life YOUR way! I know we're going to meet in person some time next year, either in NYC or Paris or Rome or some other amazing city. Give big hugs to Elyssa and Filly before you go -- and toss an extra coin in the Trevi for me, girl!

    A presto, bella --
    Maureen
    www.UrbanTravelGirl.com

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  14. Ciao bella!

    Remember, you can always return. I spent 27 months in Italy and have been back in the States for four years. But my goal is to resume living on foreign soil again by the time I'm 50. I turned 47 last week so the clock is ticking.
    And as Maureen, aka Urban Travel Girl, reiterated above, you will return as a local, not a tourist. There can't be enough said for that. While foreigners may come and go in these European cities, the good thing is the natives often remain and it's a wonderful feeling seeing them when you return, regardless of the length of your stay.
    Enjoy the next couple of weeks but don't look at them as your last. You will be back!

    Un abbraccio,

    Kelly
    www.kellyecarter.com

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  15. Ruun- thanks!

    Maureen- no I'm going back to New York for the time being... I couldn't make the apt thing work out here so I have to go back home for a while. Then I'll figure out my next step... I will def be back in Paris at some point (its my 2nd home after all!), I just don't know when/how. I will def give your regards to Filly and Elyssa before I leave! We'll meet up one day in Paris or Italy! :)

    Kelly- thanks for reading! And happy belated birthday! I plan to make the most out of these last days... its sad that I have to leave so soon but I will def be back!

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  16. Will you ever get back together with B Stacy?

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  17. I am so proud that u have already discovered what is so important. I can so relate. Wonder what going back to NYC will be like for me.

    Enjoy your last few days. Will keep in touch!

    Have a blessed Christmas with your family

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  19. Thanks for writing this post. It's nice to find other folks out there who think it's possible to build a life that makes you happy even if it means starting over. You echo many of the sentiments I've felt for the last few years and though I'm back home LA again for the time being, I'm jonesing to get back on the road again.

    Enjoy NYC and I can't wait to read about where you venture to next.

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  20. I co-sign with the other comments.

    Rome is a crazy city but it does get under your skin.

    I hope you enjoy your last two weeks.

    I love the BB quote. It's so true

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  21. Love this! It's so true... getting outside of our comfort zone helps step into a whole new place of comfort in our own skin. Here's to the adventure!

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