I've been in Italy for a few days now, and on the whole? This trip has far exceeded my expectations.
The food has not only been amazing, it's been different. The sights have not only been breathtaking, they've made me think. It's been nice to be thousands of miles from home, with my family and a useless cell phone. Thoughts of work, stress, loneliness, anxiety? While I'm here, they seem to have been replaced with the taste of blueberry-glazed steak sirloin, looking around me and realizing that I'm indeed within the confines of the Roman Coliseum, the architecture of Florence, and allowing my mind to ponder why the exhibits at the Roman Zoo (Bioparco di Roma) were designed the way they were in comparison to those I've visited in the States. (Sidenote: I'm a total nerd for the design of zoo exhibits. Seriously. I analyze them when I'm at any zoo--I promise, it's way more interesting than it seems!)
During the day, that's where I'm at. But at night when there's no sights to be seen and the rest of my family is sleeping? The thoughts come back. I worry. My mind races. I feel guilty. I have that urge. And, quite frankly? I don't feel as lucky as I should. Which is a bummer. But I know how to deal with it constructively. The time difference helps -- When I'm up late, everyone back home is just getting off work. I've begun listening to music and jotting down thoughts on various songs as I go. Perhaps I'll turn these into a user-submitted review upon my return. I play Scrabble, I listen to Opie & Anthony replays. And I have an iPod with a playlist labelled "Optimism" and another labelled "New Music: Must Listen." I give myself assignments, goals. Little ones. And it's been helping.
I'm a troubled soul, but I'm not hopeless. A few years back this trip would have been a disaster. I would have been miserable. Not because I'm not grateful, but because I didn't know how to deal with the world around me. Now, though? Life isn't perfect but it's a work in progress. Changes are being made and I have tools to push it all forward. As great as the wine is here, having these words on the tip of my tongue tastes even better.