I haven't posted much lately and for good reason. I've always been a very happy person my entire life. When I was a little girl, I would laugh and sing all of the time. So much so, that even my own mom made comments on what a happy girl I was. Pretty much all the time. Even going through breakups and divorce and bad jobs, I have always managed to keep a sense of humor and joy in my life. But, lately, well a lot of this year, things just went to heck after a pretty decent start. I noticed in college that I suffered bouts of depression linked to that seasonal affective disorder (SAD). So, I bought the special light bulbs to simulate sunlight. And endless days of fog that we have in winter, can make me go crazy and paint parts of my house very bright colors.
But this sadness was getting worse and worse and really, nothing is that terrible in my life right now, except for... I am not in Italy. I've discussed this for some time with my sister and a good friend. Geographically, I don't particularly care for my current location. It is hot in summer. It is foggy in winter. It is always dusty and frankly, really noisy. Fire/police sirens seem constantly responding to car accidents on the highway. The cool and quiet of having a cup of tea on the porch on Saturday and Sunday mornings are ruined by the cacophony of lawnmowers, weed eaters and blowers. Trucks, cars and motorcycles are modified so they can rumble, whine and grumble through town with the most possible noise to impress other.... males. (My own sister's ex-husband tricked her into changing the muffler on her brand new truck to "Flowmasters". For the un-informed, non-rednecks, theses mufflers make a rumbling noise. He told her that he wanted to change the muffler on the truck to "save on gas". She was appalled when her male co-workers oohed, and awed when they heard the truck and said, oh, you have Flowmasters! Then, she new she had been hoodwinked.)
Whenever real estate agents talk about the town I live in they say it is centrally located (real estate translation: there ain't nothing here, but we have a highway were you can get to somewhere else). But the cost of gas has made every trip to San Francisco or other interesting places very costly. Money, I would prefer to save for a plane trip you know where.
Then, I just finished reading Marlena De Blasi's third book, The Lady in the Palazzo. I love reading her books but I am always saddened by them. I like them way more than Frances Mayes books. I guess her people connect with me more. I like her outlook on life. She says they are poor, but poor can be a relative thing. She seems to have a lot of money for fabric and remodelling when she needs to and as one who has remodelled and sews, I know that none of that stuff is cheap.
So after reading her book, I realized that several things had been bothering me about my life. In her books, Italians are always out gathering wild garlic, grasses, nuts, whatever. These are things that my family did when we were younger. We went fishing, we used to go for crabs off the pier in San Francisco and clamming at the beach. If we went to the mountains, we would look for Indian arrowheads, pretty rocks, or old bottles, pine cones and other pleasing things from nature. Even in San Francisco, when we were little kids, we would go to our local park and pick blackberries and make jam and pie! These are the things that Marlena (we are on a first name basis) enjoys so much in her books about Italy. (Now, I try to limit my recreational hunting and gathering to the thrift store and garden shops. Are there thrift stores in Italy and garden shops except those by the roadside? Sorry, another digression.)
But here? Sorry, the thought of even going into the mountains with a few pals seems to be too inviting to serial killers or predators (and not the 4-legged ones). Picking up pine cones and rocks? Need a permit. Any wild nuts and berries, look out they are probably sprayed with chemicals.
Frankly, I think that is why Americans are such mass consumers. What is shopping but hunting and gathering except you need money. But, I digress again.
So, this brings me to my other dilemma. As my friend pointed out to me, I am a very project oriented person. I can't help it. It is how I have made my living. It is how I have segmented my life and accomplished what I have in life. College, job, hobbies, buying a house, remodelling a house. Everything is broken down into the components and lists in order to accomplish the ultimate task. But moving to Italy has stumped me. Tortured me. Depressed me. And even made me question the meaning of life. I can hardly get up in the morning to face life. My job, which has normally been the source of stress in my life, is now a safe-haven. Eight and a half hours not to wonder about the meaning of life. and oh yeah, I've gotten help. So, I can stare at the ceiling in my bedroom and wonder about the meaning of life, it's just that I'm not sad about it like before. But, for God's sake, this is not the meaning of living. To exist.
But, I know that the real problem is that I have not figured out a way to move to Italy and live. My job here pays decently, I own a home and I actually have health benefits and a pension (calculated every Monday morning and each Monday morning not enough to move to Italy). I don't think I would be very happy living in Italy if I were homeless (plus, I know the authorities frown on this). I'm not a writer, at least of too much fiction. My writing is more technical stuff even though I do it almost every day. I could re-learn programming but sitting on my rear all day long doesn't appeal much to me either, running a B&B, hmm, not really my cup of tea either since I want to be among the ruins and stones.
So, I run through the list. Tour guide? Maybe? The thought of needing to survive on tips horrifies me. Run a business? Never have so far and don't know if I'd be good at it. Import export? What products? And so it goes on. Do I need a life coach? Should I get another degree? Take a class in floral arranging? I buy a lotto ticket every now and then, when I think of it and ask the Lord, surely, wouldn't you want my dreams to come true? Should I seek professional help? I don't think that falls under mental illness although, it could be obsessive compulsive behavior. My sister who has never been to Italy cannot understand.
But, I don't seem to be the only person with the disorder and they seem fine once they move to Italy. I don't feel crazy. Sometimes I want to give up the dream but then what would I have? A job, a house, a truck, possessions, a better pension but no dream. (Yeah okay, I have family and friends, too.) So, I read your blogs. Thank you, it helps. I know it is possible, that I might be able to do it someday, I just wish I could do it sooner than later. But when I read the blogs, I know it wasn't all the easy, it didn't happen overnight and that I just have to keep working at it. Lord help me.