La Toscana è uno stato d’animo.
As I combed my fingers through my damp tresses, a mess of knotted, broken hair melted from my head. Another reminder of my current state of existence. Chronic stress, hormonal changes, and years of little sleep have definitely taken their toll.
“I’m too young to be losing my hair,” I thought to myself mournfully. But am I really?
My birthday is next week and I am now closer to 40 than I am to those long past days of my twenties.
Thirty six. Yikes.
Thinking back over the past 10 years is startling. My state of mind at 26 is so foreign to me now; a different life completely. I was a mess, I know. And maybe I am still, but in different ways perhaps. I do know that the world is not the same as it was then. It’s a new world and none of us can ever go back to the way it was.
So we trudge on forward.
HOPE AND DREAMS
It’s far too easy to become hopeless in today’s world. With the constant fears and sorrows fighting for airtime in my mind on the daily, I couldn’t be more thankful for the anchor of hope I have as a believer in Jesus Christ. But that unwavering faith doesn’t just take away the struggles of daily life like some magic pill. There is still a constant fight to make ends meet, to care for my body, my mind, and to meet the needs of the people in my care. Eternity is settled, but in the meantime, there is this life, here and now. And it’s really hard a lot of the time.
I’ve become increasingly drained emotionally over the past several months, trying to keep up with everything on my plate while facing some incredibly difficult health challenges. So I am all the more grateful for my husband and the couple of other people in my life who have encouraged and helped me continue to look up during these difficult times. Even though they all have their own hills and valleys to face, they have stood by me through thick and thin.
Grazie, miei cari amici.
MY PARENTS IN PARIS
As the vision for “My Journey to Italy” unfolded, I shared my thoughts with my mom one evening recently. And something she said to me really hit me hard. When she told my dad about my interest in Italy, changing my blogging focus, and wanting to move there someday, he didn’t quite understand it. So she reminded him about a saying between the two of them that has brought them comfort over the years… at least we have Paris.
They have never been to Paris, but in their minds and hearts, they share a dream that one day they would be together there. And that dream has given them joy many times over the years when life seemed impossible.
Will they ever physically get to Paris at this point in their lives? Probably not with all the many difficult factors involved. But Paris still remains a special dream to them. To my parents, Paris is a state of mind.
When she said this, it hit me. That’s what Italy is for me.
Do I want to go there in person? Absolutely. Will I ever get there in my lifetime? I really don’t know. All I have is today, right here and now. But instead of giving into the sadness of my own struggles and the sorrow of this world, I can still have Italy, I can still have LIFE! My husband and I can still dream of retiring together in a villa in the Chianti hills. I can still plant seeds, and bake bread, and sings songs, and be happy, right now. I can live this way if I choose to, feeling full of life again, ready to face tomorrow again and again. Because for me, Tuscany is a state of mind and I don’t have to wait until I’m old to live it.
So tomorrow I’m going to get up again, have a delicious cup of my favorite Italian roast coffee, and get back to work. Because that’s what we do. I’m going to enjoy my life, whatever it looks like. And I’m never going to stop dreaming and working my way towards Tuscany.
Non smettere di sognare. Don’t stop dreaming.