In my post Life Lessons in Southern Italy: It’s the Simple, Stupid, I quietly started down a new path for this blog as I begin processing my journey to where I am today — physically as well as psychologically. Although I’ve been writing here for years, up until now, I haven’t really stopped to evaluate the lifestyle choices I’ve made. Various posts have touched on this theme (The Meaning of Calabrian Life, Settling Into Southern Italy, and generally, I think, in all the Love Thursday posts, among others), but there’s nothing like the seven-year (itch) mark for the expat to take account of her life.
Yes, over the past seven and a half years, I’ve been so busy simply living (no pun intended), I wasn’t really processing it all — and I thought that “leading by example” for lack of a better term could help others follow their own dreams. And I still feel this is possible, but I’m ready for a slightly new direction. I’m ready to conquer challenges beyond learning a new language, starting a freelance writing career from nothing, and raising goats; I’m ready to delve into the emotions and thought processes behind my life’s changes and more explicitly help you identify areas in your life you’d like to improve as well.
I would be honored if you would accompany me on this journey.
I will be exploring various concepts that have become central to my daily life, including simplicity, being present in the moment, decluttering, making meals from scratch (continuing this theme, actually) acknowledging feelings deep within your soul, and much more, but please know there are no obligations here. I will be writing about a highly personalized journey to be sure, but hopefully with applications in your daily life as well.
It’s a journey that may not interest you in the least, and that’s OK. Even if you’ve been a Bleeding Espresso reader from the start and you feel like jumping off now, there are truly no hard feelings on my part. I wish you the best on your own life journey, and you’re welcome to come back at any time.
A blog is a living, breathing being, and mine follows my waves because I’m the one writing it — this is where I am in my life right now, and these are things I need to write about, not only to gain some clarity and perspective in my own mind but also to hopefully encourage you to do the same.
Look at your life: where you are, from where you’ve come, and where you’d like to go.
And I don’t necessarily mean physically.
Some of you got the impression from my last post that I believe simplicity and/or the good things in life can only be found in on a hilltop in rural southern Italy or even in Italy generally. Hardly. For some of you, life on my hilltop would be absolute hell. I can guarantee that. And life in Rome might not be much better for some of you either. Indeed, if you look around a bit, you’ll find plenty of disgruntled expats and former expats who can tell you all about their frustrations with living in Italy.
That’s not what you’ll find here, though, as I don’t dwell on the negatives naturally, but also because for me, the positives of living here so far outweigh the negatives for me that the latter are barely worth some quick Facebook rants. Always remember though, that I’ve been here for seven plus years, and I live a very particular kind of lifestyle — my experiences are mine and mine only.
I can’t and don’t speak for anyone else.
But my goal was never to convince you to move to Italy. It’s certainly not the right choice for everyone or even most people. And that’s why I’m giving fair warning that this blog is destined to veer off the subject of Italy as I explore universal concepts that apply to human emotions and actions no matter where you live; at the same time, though, I can’t deny that my location — consciously chosen by me because I felt in my very being that I was meant to be here in my ancestors’ village — has played an important role in my personal journey and my lifestyle choices, so the shadow of Calabria will likely never be too far behind.
No matter our physical locations, though, it’s important to acknowledge that we are all just doing our best to maneuver through this agrodolce vita — bittersweet life. No life anywhere is dolce all the time, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to find some sweetness in each and every moment. For me, simplifying certain aspects of my life has helped me do that, and I’d love to tell you more about it.
I hope you’d love to listen and share your experiences as well.