Thursday, April 15, 2010

What the f*ck am I doing?

I am on the plane. No passport, buck naked, on the list of forgotten items to pack: green pea coat and favorite black peep toe BCBG pumps. I wake up in a panic dripping from my own sweat. "What the f*ck am I doing?"

If someone asked me a year ago where I picture myself in 2010, I never would had thought that I'd be mere days away from overstuffing two suitcases worth of my precious belongings and flying myself across the world to live in Italy. 35 days away and the idea still seems ludicrous to me. But that's the exciting part to me. The anticipation of what's in store for the next year or so of my life is totally unknown. The thought of immersing myself into unfamiliar territory is so thrilling it scares me sh*tless, but that fear continues to drive me to take this giant leap.

Fear is a funny thing really. In most cases, it's what stops us from doing what our heart truly desires, because we are all scared of "failing". I put that in quotes because how can one fail if they tried? It's when you don't take a risk, that you actually manage to fail. Without fear, I would have done the safe thing, stayed in California, continue to work for an amazing company, surrounded by family and friends. But the fear of what would happen if I didn't go, overruled the comfort of staying.

Without a job or apartment lined up and knowing a whopping two people currently living in Rome, I occasionally get a puzzled "You're out of your effing mind" look when discussing my move abroad. This puts me in panic mode. My palms get clammy and I think again "What the f*ck am I doing?" I try turning this hesitation into excitement, but once in a while it gets the best of me and I begin to think twice about my decision. Thoughts of missing another year or so of my family and friend's lives consume me. This is no easy concept to grasp let alone accept. I remind myself that I have done this once before when I moved to Santa Barbara for school, but I was a car ride and a few hundred miles away. Not a 14 hour flight half way around the globe. Leaving all the people I love - my support system - will be the hardest part for me.

Putting family and friends aside, the little things that are now in my life have made me reconsider my decision. Yogurtland, the 80 degree days in February, and leaving more than half my shoe collection in storage is on the top of that list. This sounds ridiculous, I know, but it's leaving the comfort of what my life is right now in California that frightens me.

"What the f*ck am I doing?" continues to be a daily thought often accompanied by a handful of anxiety. But most days excitement of the unknown and the idea of change overrules the panic and I remember to just let go of the fear and roll with it.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

"Aha" moments

The past few weeks were jam-packed with 21st birthday celebrations, dinner dates, Italy arrangements, and mini trips to LA and San Juan Capistrano. Even with this hectic schedule, I managed to complete and cross off a gratifying amount of tasks on my never ending "to-do" list, and have a few realizations.

In less than a week I will be turning 25. While most of my friends want to run and hide in solitude at the thought of being that much closer to 30, I welcome it with open arms. Many people view getting older as a bad thing; often the same people who have given their life a timeline. Graduate college at 22. Begin the career of my dreams shortly after. Get married at 25 and have my first child at 27. "I am not where I pictured myself at this age." Hearing this personal proclamation makes me cringe. How boring would life be if every year unfolded the way we planned? It's life's unexpected challenges and journeys that continue to shape us into who we are. People look back on their lives with each turning year and concentrate only on what they have yet to accomplish, not what they have already achieved.

I see every year as a fresh beginning - a clean slate - and this one is no different. A little more than a month after turning a quarter of a century old, I will relocate to a foreign country, make new friends, and begin a life in uncharted territory with a new roommate. I can't start my 25th year any better.

As I reflect where I am at, at this age, I couldn't be happier. I have already accomplished so much in my short life and am proud of where I am today. Life is full of ups and downs and while I have trekked through those valleys quite a bit in the last few years, I keep climbing up. When I begin to think it doesn't get much better, life surprises me yet again and I conclude I am happier than ever. Life is what you make of it. You are the only one in control of your happiness and the outcome of this journey.

Driving southbound on the 405 freeway, it hit me that moving to Italy is the most selfish thing I have done thus far. The realization that this move is for me and me only, brought me to tears. (Rachel, you can stop laughing now. You know I cry at rainbows). Countless people have stated that I will meet a handsome Italian man, fall madly in love, and get married. Despite that the idea of love always tends to send chills down my spine leaving me with a giddy feeling, I gawk at this concept. Finding my Prince Charming is last on my list at this point in my life. Being selfish and continuing to do things only for me is my main goal, and besides the only thing I count on falling in love with in Italy is the culture, delicious food, and beautiful scenery.

I live for these sporadic moments of awareness. It could be a song lyric, a familiar scent, or an old friend that triggers what I like to call "Aha" moments. At these instances I stop and reflect, sometimes have a good laugh. Other times cry at the realization that I love life and am only getting happier with each and every day.