Photo credit: Amanda Venner
I know it sounds cliché but the New Year has always been the best time for me to take a moment and reflect on what has happened in my life as well as the things I want to improve, change or eliminate from my life.
As I look back on the past year and even months, I’ve come to realize that last year was a year of finding my own in this “not-so-new-anymore” life I’d chosen for me. I remember when I first moved here, I became a more careful person; afraid of being taken advantage of or falling prey to dishonest people. There were moments when I felt alone as I struggled to find my place and thought about what I’d like for my future. It wasn’t always easy. There aren’t many who can truly understand what it’s like to pack your life into two suitcases and leave the safe and comfortable place you’ve shared with your family and friends for the most part of your life and move to a place that is “foreign” and full of uncertainty.
I am overall an independent person but like all human beings we have this innate need to be with others and seek out affection. As time passed, speaking and understanding Italian became easier and I was finally able to show people who I really was as a person and build new relationships. Over the years, I have been reminded of the importance and influence other people have on our lives. I don’t have my immediate family here and so I’ve turned many times to my relatives nearby and the people with whom I’ve formed relationships with in my everyday life; be it roommates, workmates, friends, etc. Although there are times when I’m perfectly happy being alone, I realize that we weren’t created to be alone; we need companionship and we need to feel connected to other people. I have been extremely fortunate to have met some truly wonderful people here. People I can count on when I feel a crisis coming on and who are supportive of me and the choices I make daily.
Being in the situation I’m in, there are times when I’ve gone beyond my comfort zone and opened myself up to people (more than I would have normally). I mean, how else can you lay down the foundation for a true friendship or relationship? Unfortunately, in doing so I also ran the risk of leaving myself vulnerable and open to disappointment (which I never did in the past). For the most part, opening myself up to people has allowed incredibly good people into my life but sadly, I’ve also been disappointed by people who turned out to be different than I thought they were. Maybe I expected too much or maybe I made these people more important to me than they should have been. Regardless, it was a disappointment.
But, I decided that I won’t let these bad experiences change me. I’ve decided to distance myself from those uncertain people to devote more time and energy to the relationships that continue to be such a positive force in my life. I’m sure there will be other disappointments; after all it’s part of life, but I refuse to let it hinder me in any way. I will not let one person be the reason I bring up the walls that have taken me so long to lower. I’m not 100% there yet, but I will be.