There have been quite a few moments since my return to the states where I have had the opportunity to truly think about what the whole experience meant in my life. I will adhere to the idea that everything that happens in my life has a reason. You can tell me that that's a selfish thought, but I think it gives reason to live.
Perhaps I can start the ball rolling by explaining my state before I left.
Worst episode of stress-induced depression featuring a new friend of the bipolar variety
Or, more plainly, I was a wreck.
I was clinging so tightly to the things that I thought would make me happy. Creature-comforts that were unreliable and the idea that I had to be everybody's everything in order to be a necessary and successful element of society.
Italy told me "no".
Italian culture is a little, yes, selfish. Nobody is their for your convenience. However, I don't believe that that is such a bad thing anymore.
I would, after making that above statement, like to caution the meaning to this madness with the idea that I believe I am a very giving person. Never would I want to put out those around me if I knew I could assist them with impact. But my impact went missing when I started giving more than I had and stopped taking care of myself.
The trip allowed me to understand what made me tick. How a certain lifestyle could fill up my day with meaningful acts and, yet, leave me a lot less susceptible to self-deprecation. I won't say that I didn't struggle while I was there. Of course I did- and I will until I'm able to undo the ties that bind me in this tightly woven web of mental dysfunction and the idea that "sad" is a personality trait. It's not, by the way.
So leads me to the challenge that a dear friend placed before me last week.
In a few words or a statement, summarize the meaning of your trip
It may be a little long...
An experiment in language and social isolation with the introduction of new social norms and interesting, challenging individuals.
A shake-up of what day-to-day existence means to me.
A step in the right direction; or how to feel productive, active, and calm.
I forgot to freak out about my checked luggage taking a week to get to me, or the fact that I almost ran out of money completely, or couldn't get onto my computer from the residence, or effectively talk to the locals.
Rather, I enjoyed the luxury of not carrying my giant suitcase onto and off of the bus. I spent my money on things I wanted to and saved for trips. I learned to share with my roommate and asked for things I wanted assistance with. I learned to boil down my conversations to very few words without replies. I learned how to learn something new everyday instead of living the stagnation of making it through the day.
One grain of thought passed through my neurons on one fine day as I was walking past the pizza shop that seemed to turn into a backyard trance party on infrequent nights of the week.
"Things probably won't go the way you'd hoped when you get back, but it'll be okay because you've had this experience and you're better than you were. Good things will come in time."
And it was one of the clearest, most sentimental thoughts I had had regarding myself in a long, long time.