A Traveler’s Terrene

You only live once. What are you going to remember the most?

Living life like a Mayfly October 7, 2009

Filed under: Inspiration and Motivation — italicana kitchen @ 5:37 pm
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The average lifespan of a human is eighty years. We are born…we live…then we die. That is the nature of our existence on earth (as for life beyond earth, that is a completely different topic and one I won’t get into here…)

Yet, eighty, this number what does it represent? The answer? Time. This is the average amount of time that most of us will have on this earth baring a premature death caused by nature, disease, accident or an act of violence. So given that we both are alive right now–I am typing this blogpost and you are reading it–we are fortunate to have survived another day and continue living towards that time marker.

Do you think eighty is a large number? Imagine eighty sleek super jets lined up on a runway or eighty warm apple pies stacked on your kitchen table. Eighty is a big number. When we think of these objects, eighty seems like a lot. We have eighty years–many years–so we tend to plan accordingly. We push the things we want to do today down our timeline like one would the tiny white scoreballs on a foosball table. Not today…slide…tomorrow. Not tomorrow…slide…in five years. Not in five years…slide…when I am retired. Before we know it, we have pushed everything we’ve wanted to do to our final years of life because we have a lot. We have eighty by all means!

But, what if the human race was more like our closely related neighbor, the chimpanzee whose lifespan is only forty years. That is half the life expectancy you have now. What things about your life would you do different? What things would you change?

Now, cut that in half again and we are at twenty years, the life expectancy of a penguin. I am 26. I would hypothetically be dead right now. In my first twenty years of my life did I try to do everything I wanted? What would I have changed if I were to relive them all over again? What would I have done differently if that was all that I was given?

Now, let’s talk about the lifespan of a Mayfly. This beautiful little insect experiences our world for 30 minutes to 24 hours, depending on the species. That is their fate. That is there window of opportunity to experience life on earth before they die.

So, what if human life expectancy was the same? What if scientist’s framed our average life expectancy to 30 minutes to 24 hours, instead of 80 years? Would that change the way we think about our time? Would that change the actions we make in life?

What did you do for the last 30 minutes to 24 hours? Are you content with how you passed your time? Or, are there things you would change? Ask yourself this simple question every half hour, or at the end of each day. Imagine that your lifespan is that of a Mayfly and strive to live life with a fiery of passion to experience the day to its fullest, love with intensity and richness and use the time you are given to do the things that mean the most to you, because, right now, these moments are the only secure time you have.

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Truth through Simplicity September 23, 2009

There is something about the sense of freedom and adventure that makes my heart jump and wild butterflies soar around my tummy like that of a first kiss. The idea of letting everything go and falling into the unknown is exhilarating–it makes me feel present in this world, it makes me feel alive.

Small things can spark these feelings of liberation: a powerful push of a car’s accelerator, an unexplored hiking trail, a secluded swimming cove or even a simply designed movie poster.

“What is so special about this movie poster?” one may ask, “it is just a house suspended in air by a bunch of balloons.”

“Oh, my dear friend,” I would like to say. “This illustration represents freedom. Imagine for a moment that you could just leave everything behind and explore the world. And, not even in the traditional sense–you wouldn’t need to go through all of today’s politics of selling your house, packing your things, organizing your accounts–oh no, you could simply tie balloons to your house, lift off and be gone. No hassle. No fuss. Simply–a flight of freedom.”

Now I haven’t yet seen the film–it will be released next month in Italy–but, you can bet that I will be one of the first customers in line when the ticket booth opens. Like Disney/Pixar’s last film WALL-E which contains important messages regarding environmental destruction, reliance on technology and obesity; Up also contains messages about today’s American society, and specifically about our common state of thinking in the Future instead of thinking in the Now.

In this story, Carl and Ellie meet as children, fall in love, are inseparable throughout adulthood and share the same dream from when they were young–to explore the South American jungles. But, jobs, health issues and daily life get in the way and before Carl knows it he is old and widowed and has yet to fulfill his dream. Yet, although life sometimes gets away from us, there is always the Now to make a change. And, at 78, Carl decides that Now is the only time he has. So geared with thousands of balloons tied to his house, he let’s himself be lifted UP…UP…and AWAY, to start his adventure and to finally live out his dream.

This message, although told through a simple animated film, is an important one. Each day we have the opportunity to live life how we want to live, yet many of us let go of the balloon we hold in our hands–our dreams–to fulfill the practical side of life with the intention that “someday I can hold start living, someday I can hold that balloon again.”  But, this is pure madness. You don’t hold in your hand, “someday”, you hold in your hand “now.” That is all you have or will ever have. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.

Think about your dreams. Don’t let them float away like a stray balloon; instead, take those dreams, hold them tight, and let them carry you UP.

 

Pursuing your Passions May 4, 2009

Filed under: Inspiration and Motivation — italicana kitchen @ 1:59 pm
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Pursuing your passions is not easy. In fact, it is hard work. Yet, as all athletes know, the sweat, tears or injuries are well worth the sacrifice for that moment of glory when you win the game. The feeling is orgasmic. Brief, powerful and gives you insurmountable pleasure and a hunger to feel that way again–if only for a moment.

“But, why live your life devoting so much time and effort towards achieving a feeling that only lasts a moment?” one may ask.

Well, a life lived without these pulses of glory is like making love without reaching a climax, it just doesn’t feel complete without it.

Let yourself pursue your passions, whatever they may be. The road you’re travelling may be taking you straight up hill, or a mountain even. You may be tired, hurt, want to rest or give up–but, don’t. Keep in mind all of the feelings that you know will consume your body when you reach the peak, and it will help motivate you to keep on pushing on.

 

Missing Love… April 28, 2009

Filed under: Daily Life — italicana kitchen @ 10:50 pm
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Tonight, I got out of a nice hot shower, laid naked in the fetal position on the pink checkered comforter on my bed and cried. Not because I am unhappy, but rather because I am missing something. Like a child in the womb, don’t we just want to be held? Those were my thoughts tonight as I lay alone, I just want to feel skin on skin, an arm wrapped around me and a face curled up next to mine in the nook of my neck.

I couldn’t ask for a better life right now–I’m in Italy, following my dreams and pursuing my passions- I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world, but tonight I cried because there is no one in my bedroom to jump with me over my triumphs, wipe the tears from my eyes during moments of defeat, and just lay with me in silence without a word spoken but a muted conversation that describes and explains everything words can sometimes never say.

In truth, I should take responsibility as the majority of this solitude is my own doing as I continue to push away every man that tries to enter my life–“I don’t have time,” I say as I try to focus every free moment on writing, my other passionate love in life that consumes me as a real lover would, yet, doesn’t reciprocate with a tender touch that tonight I am missing.

It’s been over a year since I’ve been in the arms of someone I’ve loved and over four years in the arms of someone who has loved me back. Each experience has made me stronger, but in this moment I feel weak. I am tired. I don’t want to look anymore, I just want to be. To be with someone who understands me, makes me laugh, inspires me, challenges me and passionately loves me.

Tomorrow this moment will pass, and I will resume to be the strong independent woman I normally am. But, tonight my heart aches with longing for a man, a lover, and a best friend to hold me and never let me go.

 

Living an Italian Dream. March 18, 2009

It seems surreal that it has been three weeks since I left the States to start my new adventure: to live in Italy for a year! Last year I embarked on an 10 month around the world trip, this year I am in pursuit of fulfilling additional dreams to live abroad, learn fluent Italian and write a novel–something I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember but have never taken the time. When I look back on my life I don’t want to remember that I wanted to do something, but rather that I did that something. The fear of failure is the greatest failure in life.  Why would you deny yourself the opportunity to try to achieve what your heart desires for fear that it cannot be done?

Sure, I may  not achieve all of my endeavors, that is to be somewhat expected. However, with every pursuit I will certainly grow, learn and strengthen myself with the mere act of trying.  The end result is a compliment for ones ego, but the passion that fills one soul in the process is the true reward. To feel alive with passionate hunger and desire is the only life worth leading, without feeling and emotion life is a stagnant line. I want to be a heart beat. A pulse. A movement in space that is always surging and never at rest.

Let the infinite possibilities of life consume me,  my dreams engulf each moment I spend on earth, and give me determination and perseverance in maintaining an unwavering aim to lead a life of unrelenting passion and romantic adventure.

 

Nostalgia February 7, 2009

After hours of packing…unpacking…repacking…packing…unpacking..repacking…I finally squished a years worth of stuff into two bags and a carry on and walked out my parents door, not to return for another year…or longer. Looking back as the car pulled out of my driveway, I was overcome with mixed emotions. On one hand, I am ecstatic to return to my life in Italy, to be around the language, to live abroad and to be pursuing my passions. I am thankful and grateful for this opportunity, it is everything I have dreamed for and I am excited for this new adventure. On the other hand, knowing that I will miss out on the simple joys of waking up to my dad cooking breakfast, making lunch for my older brother Mark , or drinking a glass of wine with my mom makes me emotional. Sure these are just simple, ordinary things; yet, because I will be living thousands of miles away with an ocean between, I simply can’t do them, and this makes me sad.

My brother Mark is a globetrotter as well and is leaving with his girlfriend Lindy in three days for Guatemala for five weeks. I went into his room to see how his packing was going and after a big brotherly hug, I was in tears. Giant, wet, mascara running tears. Partly because, I’ve been so wrapped up in my on-line life (writing, blogging, facebook, emails etc.) that I’ve hardly hung out with him, one of my best friends, and partly because in a few days and I won’t see him for a year. I am mad at myself for wasting the past month of us actually being home together, because with life, you never know where you are going to end up. What if we never live in the same city again?

The  emotions are  the same for my parents, oldest brother, sister-in-law and nephew. I still fortunately don’t have to say goodbye to them for a few weeks, but I know when I do I will be in tears. You will know it is the day I am leaving if you see me with big, wet, mascara stained cheeks.

I know I am on the right track by following my dreams, but it still doesn’t make it any easier to leave the people I love. To know that I will be missing out on all of the little things, the simple pleasures of ordinary life with family is what makes it the hardest.

Yet, in the cloudy mist of my teary eyes, I know things always work out for a reason. If I was meant to stay, my heart would tell me not to leave. But, my heart is not ready to stay idle, yet anyways.  I have to keep moving forward, I still have so much terrene to explore, so many new things to experience.  This wonderlust heart is part of me. I can’t keep it caged, I have to let it roam free.

 

A whole new day January 28, 2009

When the sunlight streams through your bedroom window and finds its way towards your sleepy eyes, do you open them with a smile and think–I have a whole new day! Or, do you grumble as you turn over, wanting to return back to sleep, trying to escape the fact that…ugh..I have a whole new day…?

Sure, there are days that I feel the latter. There are days I wish I could escape the realities of the world.  There are days when life does not seem magical with endless possibilities, but rather  a small dark room where I am trapped. These emotions are normal, and you should allow yourself to momentarily feel the negative feelings instead of blocking them out.

Let your body express itself: shed tears over a broken relationship, lament with regret over a missed opportunity, bubble quietly with indignation—then stop.  Now it’s time to let your mind interpret these emotions. Why am I crying? Am I sad because of lost love or fear of being alone? Why am I complaining? Am I afraid i will never get a similar chance as before? Why am I angry? Did I not get what I want or am I upset by the actions of another?

You’ve allowed your body to express itself, your mind to interpret these emotions now it’s time to take the advice offered by your heart.

Relationships: If the person you love doesn’t love you back, let yourself grieve for this loss. Once your tears are dry realize that things are what they are, and you would rather be in love with someone who loves you back than being in a relationship void of love. If the world is a grain of sand, then love is the ocean–love is huge! If you submerse yourself in water, it is impossible not to get wet. If you submerse yourself in love, it’s impossible not to feel loved.  So dive back in.

Regrets: We all have them, but we shouldn’t keep them–let them free. Recognize your regret, tell yourself that you are unhappy with your actions then be proactive to either make amends or allow yourself to let go.  If it is a regret that you still can take positive action on, then what are you waiting for–transform your regret into an accomplishment! If it’s a regret that you can’t change, then accept that it is part of your past and walk forward. Don’t dwell on things you can’t control, everyone makes mistakes, now walk forward.

Anger: The world would be a better place if this emotion did not exist. But, it does, and you have a responsibility to yourself and others to control it. Recognize the fiery feelings that bubble inside and instead of letting them overflow uncontrollably, release them through a positive outlet.  Anger can be a good catalyst to a positive change in that a synonym for anger is passion, just like a synonym for love is passion. If you channel your passions in positive ways you can make BIG changes, because you are passionate about doing something. Instead of being passive, you actually want to be involved in changing the present. I get angry when I see litter on the ground, as a result, I pick it up. I get angry when I don’t challenge myself, as a result, I take more risks. etc.

When you wake up tomorrow, let your body express itself, your mind interpret your feelings, then allow yourself to really listen to your heart’s advice–it’s your best friend. Know that love is never lost, it’s all around you. You have control over your present actions to lead your life how you want to. And, you have the amazing opportunity to channel your passions to make a positive change.