For the last year or so I have been living half time in the US and half time in Italy. Straddling two continents is exciting as well as exhausting — I wouldn’t change this life of mine. My tourist visa only allows me to be in Italy for 3 months within a 6 month period of time, so back and forth I go.
In the past, having to leave has left me feeling a bit heavy hearted — why do I have to go? The differences between us all become so small and unimportant, when you can’t live where you would like to. Wait. What? I have to leave, really? Shrug.
There’s a certain stigma that comes with being almost 40 years old, childless, and sans husband. Sure, it’s becoming more acceptable to live an unconventional life, but I can assure you the stigma is alive and well. Currently straddling two continents, I am regularly asked “why,” to which I have begun replying “why not?”
There are not many boxes I fit into — which is ok with me. I choose this life everyday, regardless.
However, there is one particular mold that does fit me: the do what makes you shine for this life mold. Even if it’s odd or makes people uncomfortable.
I have found a key contributor to a shiny life regardless of how you choose to live it is a solid foundation of people that love and support you. No matter what, they’re there. Even if they wouldn’t choose your life, they show up and hoist you above their shoulders. They are happy to seeing you glowy and flush with life. They’re the best and I love mine.
I have also realized that surrounding myself with women making similar unconventional choices is mission critical. Those that understand what it takes to stand against the grain and do exactly what you please. To fight through the fear and continue to choose each day.
My friend Mei calls this team and its tools Freesolo. She’s building a support system, a toolbox for solo travelers. She’s put out the call and is looking for other adventurers. She’s asking you to the ring the bell and join her. To join all of us actually. You know you’ll find me there as well, front row.