I have been down for days. It started off with a general bad mood that moved into a terrible head ache and now deep sadness. Yesterday I cried harder than I think I have since my former husband died. And as I write now, I have tears in my eyes. I am embarrassed to admit this. I mean, I live in Italy. I only work part time. I am “living the dream!” What’s there to be sad about?
I keep telling myself that I am just homesick; that the “honeymoon” phase of being in Italy is over; that I am settling into my life here and this is to be expected. I know all of this is all true. I know this is normal. I know this feeling will go away. I know I am growing from this experience. I know all of this. But, the fact remains; I am filled with sadness right now. And, although I am surrounded by wonderful new friends again, I feel completely alone.
This is the first time in 19 years I have had time to slow everything down and think. When I think about that statement I have to admit it’s in no way an exaggeration. Since I left for college I have filled my life with activity that has left almost no time for real introspection. Yes, of course I have taken time off over the years and had those epiphany moments (that’s how I got here!). But I have been in Italy for nearly four months. Four months of introspection while navigating a new culture is quite different from a week at the nearest beach.
The truth is I am afraid. Like most people I hate the unknown. I hate not knowing what’s next for me. What will my life look like after Italy? Will there be an “after Italy?” Will I ever meet this person that everyone thinks I “deserve?” Will I ever stop caring about meeting that person? Will I ever truly be okay with “just me?”
All of my friends (old and new) have been great. The pressure of finding a man or meeting “the one” is off. Well, the pressure is off from everyone else. I have realized at this point, the only one trying to force the guy thing is me! It’s not like I talk about it or am actively pursuing it. But in the back of my mind I find my thoughts moving toward finding a man way more than I realized or than I want. At times this has weakened my resolve and I have almost gone down paths I am sure I would deeply regret.
This frustrates the hell out of me! Why do I care so much? Is it really so horrible to be alone? Of course not! I know this in my heart, but as a reforming control freak I’m finding it hard to stop engineering every part of my life.
Right now my unknowns are pulling me back to the life that I know; work, career, and professional fulfillment. These are all honorable things. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a successful professional career. I could move back to Washington, DC tomorrow, resume my old life and make a legitimate point about why it was the right time to do so. I could do that and most likely no one would blame me or look at me like I failed. Well, that is, no one but me. The truth is I believe I am destined for a different path in life. The fact is I have no idea what that path is and it scares the hell out of me.
Don't worry. I’m staying here. I’m riding this out to the end. But my god this is fucking hard sometimes.