Glass Pebbles and Life Changes

word traveler

I am greedy. Not greedy for money or clothes or pasta or jewelry. I am greedy for an exciting life. I expect it to be exciting all the time, yet I find excitement in the small things, too. When I was a kid, I remember I used to go to the beach with my dad to look for glass pebbles from long ago discarded bottles, and I literally was the happiest kid when I found a smooth and well-worn piece of glass. It was the size and the color of an apricot, light orange. Where did that come from? From a faraway shore? It was so big compared to the others. Was it the remaining of a bottle or some other object? Whatever its story was, I kept it to this day on the bookshelf of my old bedroom, to remind myself how little things can make you happy for a long time. But in time I have grown, and my needs and wishes have obviously grown with me. The dictionary states that excitement is a state of exhilaration, enthusiasm, stimulation or emotional arousal. Life doesn’t always gift us with strong emotions, there are days when happiness consists of the simplest things–a cappuccino on a Sunday morning, a good book in your hands, a walk in your neighborhood to try out the new ice cream parlor’s flavors, the cake that you always fail but that finally comes out of the oven with the perfect shape and taste. Or a simple photograph shot in a moment that doesn’t look so special, but that will be your only handhold on an instant that will never come back. Life isn’t always an exciting ride on a roller coaster, or something that leaves you breathless. This is why, at this point of my life, I feel guilty. Because months of roller coasters are ahead of me, and I’m not sure I will match up with the challenge of such a wild ride, or if I’ll need an oxygen mask to breathe.

I am about to leave with my better half for the most undreamed-of destinations, a one-month trip that will take us along paths we never walked, in Asia. We’ll meet the snow monkeys in Japan, see the Mount Fuji I remember from some cartoon I used to watch in my childhood, we’ll be in Hiroshima on August 6th, cross the Sea of Japan on a boat to reach Seoul, and then fly to Vietnam for an on the road journey all the way to Thailand. Feeling lucky. This is the best way I can describe myself at the moment.

But this isn’t it. The real life twist happens in September, when my family of two will move to Washington, D.C., a place that was home and shelter to us for two years in the past. So this is not a new feeling, or a new place to visit that carries secrets and unexpected discoveries. It’s a deepest perception, a sense, somehow, of going back home, and starting a new life in a place that we have always found welcoming and warm. Why do I feel guilty, then? And worried? Why do I spend some nights staring at the ceiling and wondering hey, what’s wrong with me?? Partially because I know I’m lucky, too lucky—we will have a second chance to live in a city we loved back in time, but with new prospective and hopes. And second chances are made of gold! But part of me feels bad, because this time I see the down side of a dream that is coming true. My parents and grandparents lives in Italy, and damn I will miss the daily life with them. I feel like I’m robbing them of the time we have left together, of Sunday meals to be shared, of coffees with grandma and shopping sessions with mom. A tennis match has been playing in my head for a few months now. The ball that is being batted to and fro has “Is this the right thing to do?” written all over it. It falls in the yes court, and then bounces in the no court. Back and forth, giving me headaches. And then I think I’m not the type who wastes second chances. I feel guilty, and greedy for wanting more every day, yes, but I also want to play my opportunity as good as I can, making sure that my beloved ones see the positive side of my life choices as well.

At the moment, I am suspended above the unknown and the many issues that present themselves as we are making this important decision, but after all this is who I am and I can’t deny it. I love feeling that I’m walking along an invisible thread staggering over a canyon---I want to see what’s below, and get goose bumps, and fear, and enjoy, and scream from happiness when I get to the other side! Me and my glass pebble, all safe in my hands.

Wish me luck :-)

 

I sat down and tried to rest. I could not; though I had been on foot all day, I could not now repose an instant; I was too much excited. A phase of my life was closing tonight, a new one opening tomorrow: impossible to slumber in the interval; I must watch feverishly while the change was being accomplished.” --- Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre