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 :)