A Lifetime Lived

A year ago today, I started this life…” So begins the book I wrote about my experiences in moving to Rome.

Today, it is six years ago that I started this life. I realized it tonight as I was sitting with Fi, during our weekly girl date, drinking wine and sharing an omelet in the South of France, in an empty courtyard dominated by a castle dating back centuries.

I’ve lived a lifetime in the past six years. I’ve done things people have only dreamed of. I have learned two languages. I dated a count! I have close friends on four continents. And through a series of what can only be described as the most random coincidences, I am living the life of my dreams.

I think about the girl who got off that plane six years ago. She left her friends, her family, and a seven-year relationship behind. Her love for a foreign land, whose language she couldn’t quite speak, had overruled every last sane instinct she had. And yet, she did it.

I love that girl. In some ways, I miss her. I sometimes long to push myself in the same way, to deliver yet another hard right curve that sends my fate soaring along a new trajectory. But it could never happen the same way twice, and I’d be a fool to try to recreate the past.

And why would I want to? That decision has given me the life I live now. While that life is far from ideal, I must confess it is more exciting, and infinitely more inspiring, than I had ever imagined it could be.

First of all, I am a writer! (Finally, a job my parents can describe to people in one short sentence.) I get paid to write all sorts of interesting things. Through my writing, I have developed a worldwide network of friends with whom I share my addiction of travel and learning about the world we live in. Every day, without fail, I am energized by their ideas, their theories, and their own dreams of how life should be.

I have found someone with whom to share my life. He is not perfect; sometimes hilariously so, and sometimes my heart breaks into a million pieces as I watch him work so hard every day to build a life out of the debris his past has left him. But most importantly, he understands better than anyone the sacrifices I have made to realize my dreams; and, to my utter joy and amazement, he shares my vision of what the future can hold for us. There is no better feeling in the entire world, and through him I have found the true definition of love.

This place is not my home. But it’s not far from it, and Cal graciously indulges my frequent, lengthy travels to the place where I belong. There, in that place I now call home, is a group of people without whom I don’t dare to think of how my life would be. With their effortless generosity and endless reserves of patience and grace, they prove to me time and time again that God exists. As I wrote to them just now, non potrei essere la persona chi sono oggi senza loro.

Lastly, in this dedication on the anniversary of my rebirth, I thank my parents. They are my biggest cheerleaders, and their love for me has allowed them to let me spread my wings and fly far, far away from them. I miss them desperately, every day, and I wish there was a way I could keep them in my pocket so they could experience the incredible life they have taught me to live.

I am so grateful for my life. I stagger under the weight of its magnificence. And I can’t wait to see what happens next.

10 thoughts on “A Lifetime Lived

  1. Thanks for the beautiful post…I hope I can write something as poignant and beautiful I’ve been here six years. This is only my second week in bella Italia! It was sad leaving my family and friends, but it’s been a great and interesting experience so far in this new land that I now call home.

  2. It cannot have possibly been six years ago. It seems like just yesterday you were sitting on my floor in your white cotton nightgown singing MJB at the top of your lungs…. Love you, no matter where you are.

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