Italy Called

Jul 26, 2014 by

          My friend called me from Italy today (made freely possible by Viber, a must-install app for travellers) to break the news that his dad’s uncle gave away our time at his beach house in Calabria to his daughter. (I guess she takes priority over a distant blood tie and two chicks he’s never met.) After going over other accommodation options between his family and mine, we decided it was best to pay for a cheap place on the beach instead of free accommodations with fam further from the water. With that sorted out, our conversation moved to Rome 2012 nostalgia. (Recall that he and I were in Rome at the same time two summers ago.)

          “Guess where we went last night!” he exclaimed, the slight phone delay between Canada and Italy building suspense.

          “A river party?!” I shrieked in vicarious excitement. (I love Rome’s river parties!)

          “We were in Campo de’ Fiori . . .” he started, as I waited out the short pause that followed (so, not a river party), “and we went to that bar you and I went to last time!” he announced in reference to the night he’s still convinced he was roofied. “The same people were there!” he told me.

          “Really?” I laughed.

          “Yeah, the owners are the same!” he confirmed before continuing his story to tell me that his best friend/one of my girlfriends from high school got so sick last night that she was “projectile puking.”

          “Oh no, she can’t handle Rome the way we can,” I said.

          He laughed in response.

          “Don’t worry, I’ll be there in less than a week!” I assured him.

          “Thank God! Can you just come here now?” he joked. “What do you want to do when you get here? You only have the weekend in Rome before we go to Calabria.”

          “Well, I’ve already seen most of Rome. This will be my third time, and last time I was there for two weeks, so I’m mainly going for the vibe. I don’t need to see anything specific,” I said.

          “So we’re going to party,” he assumed.

          “Yup!” I agreed. “Party and eat, baby! Party and eat!”

 

***

 

          Friends, I have found the cure to anxiety: constantly be on the verge of going to Italy. I haven’t even boarded the plane yet, and Italia has already worked its magic of laissez-faire living. When anything that would typically stress me out as of late arises, my brain just reiterates that I’m going to Italy and all is well. Italy has even erased my concerns about how I’m going to pay for it, which is miraculous, considering it is the very cause of them. Daydreams of Rome have allowed me to give myself permission to relinquish all self-inflicted pressure and deadlines, because they don’t matter; I’m going to Italy.

          I needed this. You know those times when you feel like life is kicking your ass because you’re failing to file the stupid, irrelevant details into the “I don’t care” folder in your head? I’m so there. I’ve been living in the “everything is a big deal because I’m overwhelming myself with what-ifs” mental compartment, and Italy is my solution. It’s totally working. Just anticipating wine-soaked strolls amongst cobblestones has helped me reorganize my priorities into their proper places. I let my financial plan, my rule of not going to Europe until my dream trip, and my long-term-goal-over-short-term-gratification mentality go to take care of myself now. I live in the present, and my present is the emotional equivalent of a hot mess (re: crying in La Carnita). I needed this lift.

          This is not to say that I believe you need to fly thousands of miles and enter another way of life to boost yourself. Rather, the lesson here is to say yes to experiences you want to live purely for the love of living them. It is to put what is most important to you first. If the depression I fought with happiness taught me anything, it is to live. Right now, for me, that means joining my friends’ European adventure instead of living vicariously through it. Italy is my reminder to myself that happiness comes above everything else. Living my life is more important than worrying about it.

 

***

          “I heard you’re sick,” I began my get-well message to my hungover friend. “Feel better! When I get there, I’ll teach you how to do alcohol in Rome like an Italian chick: pre-wine with no post-vomit!”

 
Happiness Tip: To quote Coors Light, “Live vicariously through yourself.”

 
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