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Locked down but not out in Italy

Singing from the balconies! One nice thing about this crisis ... solidarity! “Guess you’re not living like a tourist anymore,” was the funny, truthful and somewhat gut-wrenching message of a friend the day the lockdown in Italy began. Today is day 6. My beloved Italia has been hit hard with the COVID19 epidemic. With the second largest elderly population in the world, the epidemic has meant a disproportionate amount of deaths in the country. So though I haven’t been worried about contracting it myself, this isn’t about me or someone like me who, if contracted it would probably have a sucky couple of weeks and then recover. It is about if someone like me contracted it and then spread it to a person with a complicated health history or an elderly person with a weakened immune system. Eerily orderly: Lines for the grocery store, each person one meter apart In a country with no concept (and no physical room really) for personal space, and in a city with reproachable hygie

Happy new year to me!

Photo credit: Lago di garda

I know that this might come off as a bit egocentric, but I have realized over time that my new year doesn't start on January 1. My new year starts today, on January 27, my birthday. In one way, this is logical. For each of us, our year really resets on the anniversary of the day we are born. In another way, it is a peculiarity. But for some reason, it always feels to me like the first three or so weeks of the new year seem a part of the preceding one. As if those 3 weeks wrap up whatever was going on in the previous year and then my new year really starts on the 27 January. Maybe it is something about having a birthday in January? Or perhaps some of you out there feel that too?

2011 for me was a challenging one. I won't say bad, but I will say I was happy for it to end. It was a year of unemployment that stretched longer than I wanted, of difficult moves and goodbyes to friends, of logistical difficulties with visas and paperwork, of relying more on people than an independent Aquarius is used to doing, of transitory and imperfect living conditions (no hot water e.g.)  and of stupid mistakes, one of which was locking myself out of my apartment (for the first time ever). 

This week, I somehow managed to not only lock myself out of my apartment but lock myself out on the balcony on my 7th story apartment. A tale for another time. But this event to me was classic 2011: something being almost astonishingly difficult when it seems like it shouldn't be. Helpless, locked out of my own world and unexpectedly spending an extraordinary amount of time on something that seems shouldn't have happened at all: it had 2011 written all over it. And to me it was proof that my theory is correct; my new year begins today. Today I hit the reset button. So egocentric or not, I need to say it: Happy new year to me! 

I also thought I would  share with you all my birthday/New Year's resolutions since I made them to start today. Perhaps if you are struggling with yours or never made them, you can hit the reset button to. These can maybe give you some ideas: 
  1. Focus less on the future and more on the now.
  2. Leave some time in my day for quiet.
  3. Take more notice of the things that are going well than the things that need improving.
  4. Take myself/my gut/ my instincts seriously and listen to what they have to say.
  5. Spend more time on maintaining long distance relationships with friends and family members.
  6. Spend less time on stuff (shopping, organizing, rearranging) and more time with people.
  7. Make time for writing. Finish my writing classes.
  8. Learn stick shift so that I am not helpless when it comes to driving in Rome.
  9. Start seeing more of the world. Travel less to regions I know and more to regions I don't.
  10. Prioritize running and dancing- major stress relievers for me. Sign up for a Half marathon.
  11. Discover a whole new side of Rome instead; not sticking to what I know.
  12. Keep my mentality of living like a tourist, enjoying and being grateful for every day that I have, especially when I am lucky to be living somewhere as beautiful as the Eternal City.

Happy birthday to the other January 27 babies out there and happy new year to all of you!