I just got off the phone with a friend of mine from Italy (Hi Anna Banana!)who had been surfing my site at work. She said she had been looking at my pictures from last summer and she got extremely emotional and just wanted to hear my voice. I could only talk for a few moments (work calls unfortunately), but I understood exactly where she was coming from.
It’s strange to live in a place where reality is really a fantasy. Where you’re living a life that will only be yours for a short time. Time seems to stand quietly, letting you believe that this fantasy life is truly yours. Only to sneak up on you and snatch it all away in one quick (well, not exactly quick) plane ride. Then your dropped back into whatever mess you’ve left behind. All of the problems and fears you had run off to escape are right in your face again, and it’s a test to see if you’re strong enough to handle them.
When I returned from Italy, I didn’t think I was strong enough. In fact, I thought my life was over. I wasn’t sure I could fix all of the things I’d screwed up. I wanted to go back to Italy, where things were ‘easy.’ I was depressed, lonely and deeply afraid that my life was crashing down around me.
Today, one year after my Italian summer, things are very different. I’ve gone through so many changes resulting from that trip and my subsequent return to life as I know it. But yesterday, I realized something. It hit me several times during the day. As I ordered Mexican food to feed my hangover. As I snuggled up to Trent to take an early afternoon nap. As I was covered from head to toe in 4-year-olds who felt I was a human jungle gym. As I went to a movie I’d been wanting to see with a group of friends. And as I drove home from that movie with a cool summer storm enveloping my car. Steam rising from the roads. A new CD blared. And I thought, “Holy shit, I’m happy. I’m truly, deeply, strangely happy.”
That’s what came from all of that fear. I faced it. I was actually strong enough. I still can’t believe it. I have no idea how I got here. But I’m here. That’s what counts. Now I can look back at those pictures from last summer and smile. And miss those times. Those people. That life. But I’m not sad. And I don’t have regrets. I’m happy right where I am. So. Very. Strange.