Wow! What a year. When I think back upon it, I get a little overwhelmed. I’ve already been back for five months. FIVE MONTHS! It seems like the time has passed in the blink of an eye. I had forgotten how fast your life passes you by when at least eight hours of your day is automatically committed to a regular activity.
It’s also interesting to see how much I have aged since my return to the States. My deep forehead wrinkles and dark under-eye circles are back; the unfortunate by-product of a face squinted at a computer screen all day. I found the fountain of youth in Italy y’all. It’s 10 hours of sleep a night, fresh food that is not poisoned with chemicals, great friends, and making love to a gorgeous Italian man on a regular basis. Yep, that’ll take 10 years off your face pretty quickly.
I’ve been hearing a lot of “year-end reviews” over the last few weeks. I missed these summaries at the end of 2009 as I didn’t have a radio or TV and never thought to look it up on CNN.com. I forgot how interesting I found these summaries.
You’ll all be interested to know that there was a major shift in the music industry from 2009 to 2010; with Lady Gaga closing out this year with the second most popular song and Ke$ha coming in first with Tik Toc. Apparently last year Lady Gaga’s “Poker face” was in the coveted top spot, and Ke$ha was in second! Tough break Lady G… tough break!
I also discovered during this year-end summary that the charming young woman who spells her name with a dollar sign does not pronounce her name “Key-sha” as I had originally thought, but Kesh-ah, like the Kesh in Marrakesh. Ahhhh, kids these days! Just wondering, does anyone name their kids Kim, or Amy, or Lisa anymore?
Apparently the end of 2009/beginning of 2010 saw the end of Jake Gyllenhaall and Reece Witherspoon as a couple. I just found this out by the way. I had no idea! And now apparently he is stalking Taylor Swift? Isn’t she like 18 years old or something? Hey, wait! Isn’t he 30 years old? Does that make him a LION? All this celebrity stuff is just too much to keep up with, so let me just focus on me from this point on forward.
I learned a lot about myself this past year, surprising myself in many ways; some good, some bad.
This was the first year I felt the emotion of jealousy. Yeah, that emotion sucks! I also discovered I am moody. I’m not sure if I just realized that I was moody, or if I picked up the emotion over the last year. Either way, that was not the most pleasant realization for me as I had always prided myself on being a happy and upbeat person most of the time.
This year I also released myself from that burden of being positive and upbeat all of the time. That was a great thing to let go of, and OH MY GOD what a wonderful feeling to discover my real friends actually like me even when I’m moody, or complaining, or not being the life of the party all the time! Yes! Yes! Yes! My Italian friends were one of the very good things for sure!
I returned to my home country with a renewed gratitude for the everyday “luxuries” I have here; affordable heat; a clothes dryer; long HOT showers with a shower curtain or door; people speaking English. After being back in the U.S. for about 2 months I realized how much personal value I derived from working each day and feeling as though I’m good at my job. I actually love what I do for a living, and enjoy going to work. That was a pretty great realization. I mean, who gets to move to Italy and realize they like their real life better than their dream?
Although I feel my home is in the United States, I feel fortunate to have experienced the lifestyle of Italians. I miss so many things from my life there. I miss the absolute beauty in almost everything that surrounds you- from the architecture to the food displayed at the corner market. I love the passion in the way the Italians talk, in the way they touch, in the way they eat. Italians know beauty, they know food, they know wine, and they truly know how to live. One of my goals for 2011 is to maintain this passion for life as I redefine my life here.
The best thing I learned about myself this year is that I really like the woman I have become. I am so much more comfortable in my own skin now. Maybe this is a result of the last five and a half years, maybe it’s my year abroad, maybe it’s the result of turning 40, or maybe it's all these things. Either way, I make no apologies for who I am. Yes, I can be intense. I can be a total pain in the ass. I expect a lot from people. Love me anyway! And if I’m not your cup of tea, that’s okay too. You’ve gotta do what’s right for you.
Happy New Year everyone, I wish you a year full of friendship, gratitude, and fulfilled dreams!