Lately, I use the same excuse to mentally dig myself out of the bad situation– I say, “so what, at least I’m in Italy.” For example, I was riding the bus a few weeks ago in Florence. I didn’t properly validate my ticket, (you have to click it in a machine to get a time stamp). A bus controller stopped me and proceeded to yell at me in Italian for ten minutes–in front of everyone else on the bus–while I tried desperately to explain that I didn’t know what he was saying and that I only speak English.
After, he took all the money I had in my wallet (I paid a 45 euro fine), I left the bus station racing to class an hour late, out of breath, angry at myself and the mean man. But “so what,” I told myself, “at least I’m in Italy.”
When I was homeless in Rome last weekend, and ended up sweaty and tired looking for a place to stay (stopping at 9 or 10 hostels before success) I told myself, “so what, at least I’m in Italy.
When I lost my international student ID card I told myself “so what, at least I’m in Italy.”
When I spilled olive oil on my favorite green cashmere cardigan, I told myself “so what, at least I’m in Italy.”
When a man on a mo-ped nearly ran me over on the way to class, and then cursed at me in Italian (in front of several people waiting at a bus stop) I slunk away and told myself, “so what, at least I’m in Italy.”
When I checked my bank account last week and nearly died of a heart attack, I told myself, “so what, at least I’m in Italy.”
Tomorrow I turn twenty. The big 2-0. I can kiss my youth goodbye. My childhood passed in the blink of an eye. This means I am no longer a teenager. I am currently living out the last hours EVER that I will have as a teenager. This means I can’t make stupid mistakes and do stupid things and blame it on being a teenager anymore. Now I’ll just be making stupid mistakes and doing stupid things but I’ll be TWENTY. Ugh.
Just thinking about it makes my heart flutter. I’m one year closer to getting gray hair and wrinkles… The phrase “in my twenties” sounds so… SCARY. People get married in their twenties. People buy houses, finish college, start families, start careers, move in together IN THEIR TWENTIES. I’m officially having a quarter life crisis.
I wish I could stop time, not blink, and be 19 forever…or at least for a little bit longer. Please Peter Pan, can’t I come with you to Neverland? My teenager years were the best/worst years of my life, and I loved every minute of the joys and challenges of them. Looking back, there were times when I made a complete idiot out of myself and times when I did alright. I definitely have regrets, but only a few, and many, many more things to be grateful for–most of all my parents, who raised me right.
I know I can’t stop time or push the pause button on life. It just doesn’t work that way. Eventually, I’ll finish college, start a career, get married, start a family, probably even have a joint savings account, an apartment in the city, and a cabin in the woods. Hopefully I’ll have many more trips and chances to live abroad, meet many more people, and make many more mistakes I can learn from. I guess aging is part of life… (sigh)
Bring on the wrinkles. Bring on the gray hair. So what, at least I’m in Italy.