Ok, long post alert. Might just be rambling. We shall see. I’ll also probably start using the blog site I’ve been paying for over the last 5 years to avoid these types of facebook essay posts haha.

My time clock is still a little off right now. I now understand jet lag, did not have it in Italy at all but definitely felt it coming back to the states. So I was awake at 5am again! And sadly have to go back to work today until 2am. Hoping to squeeze in a nap….

Many people who are close to me know I was not in the best mental state when I left. I wish I had some profound excuse for this, but I don’t. There are a lot of little factors that I allowed to control my outlook on life. In the last year and a half I changed jobs, twice. Moved away from the valley and rented a place, then moved into a home I rent by myself. I boarded the horses. I’ve made a lot of ‘changes’ to try and get a ‘change of perspective’. It didn’t work. And since it didn’t work the spiral down into negativeness became worse and worse. That song, ‘sit still, look pretty’ was basically how I felt in life. Just control yourself, smile, put on some mascara and you’ll be fine. Wrong.

I’d had the goal to travel internationally before 30 for years but didn’t know if I was going to be able to make this happen. Confession… I booked the trip before I even had the time off work. (Yes I was spoken to about this already so nobody needs to go report it). I also did not have the time off, so emailed saying I’d take the whole 2 weeks off unpaid. I couldn’t bring myself to book my ticket back home until the day before I left. My mental status was at the point where if they said no you can’t go, I would of quit. On spot. Probably tarnished the very clean career reputation I’d killed myself making over the last 8 years, but did not even care. Sometimes there is a voice inside of you saying that you NEED to do this for you. Not anyone else. This is a voice I’ve done a very poor job of listening to for a majority of my life. I come last. Dogs first, horses first, family first, job first, responsibility first – there’s been no balance.

I was so stoked about this trip that I was in the mindset that nothing could mess it up. Any foreseeable complication was mentally turned into an adventure, it added to the story. Running for trains while somewhat stressful in the moment was also so exciting! Anyone who knows me knows I don’t swim in the ocean, well I did. And really far out. And jumped off a baby cliff, because I could! I ate whatever I wanted. Barely ever made it to bed before 2am. Was so tired but didn’t care because it made me realize all the good times I was having that we’re keeping me up late. Etc.

If anyone on the trip was being negative for any reason (didn’t happen often) I’d usually just walk ahead by myself and be like wow, I’m in Italy and its so gorgeous out. On one such night in Rome this happened. I was walking ahead and passed by this bush that oddly had a red rose barely peaking out from it (not a rose bush, like a shrub). Without missing a step I grabbed the rose and had to turn around because it just kept coming out of the bush – I had just pulled this perfect and beautiful long stemmed red rose out of a shrub?!?!? Like what??? I’m convinced this was my reward from the universe for not succumbing to any negativity. Instead acknowledging all that was beautiful around me. One more little gift.

I woke up so excited every day about the possibilities to come. And it never let me down. All expectations surpassed. So many moments that were so good it was surreal, like this doesn’t happen in real life – but they did. Whether I was with the group or by myself, goodness just seemed to be all around.

Now the struggle begins. I’m back. And I have a choice. As much as I hate to use the cliche saying, there is always a choice. And I have to begin the battle within to continue this perspective and allow myself to see the beauty in everything as I did in Italy.

I watched ‘The Secret’ last night. It was very interesting. I want to try and watch one movie/show/documentary about the beauty and goodness of life every week. Replace that with some of the crap we watch. I also used to LOVE quotes that made you think and feel and look at life differently. I haven’t dabbled in my beautiful quote/philosopher finding in years so don’t be surprised if you see that – maybe even daily. I want to try and do something that encompasses beauty or positivity every single day for the next 365 days and re-evaluate in a year.

I’m posting about this because I think transparency in your goals and in your struggles is important and also a lost art. We put on the picture of life is perfect – I am no exception to this. We all are our best chance together. There are billions of people in the world – why try and tackle your struggles alone if you don’t have to? I asked 100s of strangers for help on this trip, whether it was directions, what train, where to eat, etc – everyone was willing to help. Why not involve the people you know to actually help in your life quests? To the people I interact with regularly, and even those I don’t, I’m going to ask for your help in this. If you see me struggling, just say ‘hey, its a beautiful day’ or some other comment to call me out (co-workers – please don’t add ‘in the neighborhood’ to the end of that lol). Change doesn’t always happen overnight. Unlearning the ingrained habits takes time. But the first step is to acknowledge and start.

So here we go! I will leave you with a quote that has been a favorite of mine for probably 10 years. I discovered it in college and thought wow, to me this embodies total peace. I hope to end up in this field one day  Ok end short narrative.