28 April 2010

What's It All About?

I've not posted in a while and I've been thinking about what I really want to post. This started as a blog about my journey into elderhood, keeping as aware of the process as I am able. My move to Italy happened at the same time and that's been amazing in and of itself for me. So, sometimes my posts are travelogues and sometimes more about the journey. Which brings up the question of what to focus on.

After 1 year in Italy (this month) John wrote a newsletter for family and friends that summarized the biggest lessons we've learned in our first year: 1. The people are amazing! 2. Developing a network of friends is critical (corollary of #1). 3. Everything in Italy takes longer than expected. 4. Learning a new language in our 60's takes longer than we imagined (corollary of #3). 5. It is wonderful to be surrounded by such scenic beauty and rich history. He sat down and whipped those out in a short time. He's like that.

Just the writing with him of lessons learned made me wonder- "What's it all about, Alfie?" for me? Where am I on this journey 1 year down the line? What makes me the happiest? In my writing? In my life these days? What gets my juices flowing? Have I developed the focus I wanted when I first retired 1 year ago? Good questions but not many answers, though I wish there were. Meanwhile, I spent the entire day in Rome yesterday and saw such achingly beautiful paintings (Carvaggio), such beautiful places (Trevi Fountain, St. Peters, Piazza Navona), and such ancient history (the Apian Way, the original walls of Rome) that I wanted to weep, laugh and sit quietly to take it all in- all at once! Which keeps on happening this year and makes me want to write about it and makes me wonder if I've lost focus and....

So here I am, feeling awed, grateful and a little lost. I thought I would have more of a sense of what my next step should be by now. I love my life and I sense there's more expected of me, more to give. Is that left over catholic guilt or premonition? I don't know. I don't like not knowing so I'm more tempted to fill up the pages with adventures in Italy, but it's not just about adventures, is it? Isn't there something more important than adventures? Or should this be in praise of adventures? And isn't it unseemly to be this unsure at my age?

I'm doing the things that are in front of me to do: 1. growing with, loving and traveling with my husband, 2. becoming a full resident of this new and lovely country, 3. becoming closer to and cheering on my amazing daughter and nieces, 4. being an unconditional grandchild lover, 4. reading and writing on topics I find inspiring. Meanwhile, I'm cultivating presence to uncertainty and ambiguity these days and paying attention to what else comes my way. I hope I'm paying close enough attention so I find the way for me to serve, to find what else is to be born from me. I want to leave behind a too little self and allow full emergence into my self.

Is it just me that thinks this way? What do you think?


  1. I love how you are absorbing, learning, appreciating, and just having an all-around good time with all that your new life in Italy brings. I have met so many people who, when in a country other than their own (whether by choice or by professional mandate), spend the entire time moaning and pining for home. Silly people.

    I say, continue to go with the flow. Have fun! Lay aside that lingering Catholic guilt (how do they do that to us?). I have. Had I not, I would not be spending so much time exploring the world, blog by blog.

  2. Such good advice. Thanks. And you're right about the fun part and the lay aside the guilt part. I decided to do just that. So watch out world- here we come!

  3. I have NO IDEA why it's taken me this long to write this comment - I read this post the day it was published and somehow I couldn't find a way to express the way it touched me. I think it's because I find myself in a similar place - and we write immediate comments on posts that are far removed from our own experience.

    Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not in Italy as an ex-pat. I'm not struggling to learn the lingo - although keeping up with the changes in English on a day to day basis is hard enough as it is. I'm not far removed from my circle of family and friends.

    But, like you, I am discovering all these new passions in me. And I'm wondering why it's taken me so long to open my eyes.

    I'm glad I know you. I'm glad we have the Internet to keep up with each other. I'm glad there's someone out there whose experience is close enough to mine that it makes me think about what I want to say in response to her posts.

  4. Lou, it is amazing to me that these kind of relationships can develop via blogs but here it is! A relationship, one that matters to me. Tante grazie for your response. I'm glad that my experiences, hopes, fears, searches can be shared, that they matter to someone else and strike a similar cord. OK, so I'll keep on showing up, paying attention, telling the truth and (hard for me) letting go of the outcome. It's all I can do, that and cheer on another fellow traveler in doing the same.

  5. I ran upon your blog through Theme Thursday, but was more intrigued by your recent expat status and your "journey into elderhood" theme. I'm "only" 50 but have found this change of decade/age to be a real puzzlement. Anyway, congratulations on diving into the blogosphere and I hope our paths will cross again.


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