During the middle of the mortgage meltdown I was also doing some melting of my own; quickly and completely like butter over a high flame. With my finances still in shambles after my husband’s death and the real estate landscape a wreck, I was in dire need of some extra income. Not so I could buy a new pair of jeans or go to happy hour, but so I could buy food. It was scary and humbling all at once.

A Change in Perspective

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.

Calling all Adventurers

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.

You’re the Only One Holding Yourself Back

Excuses are easy and complaining is second nature. But when we really cut the BS, we are the only thing standing in our way.

Want to travel? Find a way. Hate your job? I know the feeling, get out of there. NOW. Or maybe you’ll be lucky and get fired, being forced from your safety net will allow the possibilities to pour in.

I too am guilty of the self-imposed hold back. Limiting beliefs and reasons why something wouldn’t work were part of my inner dialogue. Now when I find myself holding back I am quick to identify and move around it. Not past, but around with solutions and possibilities.

What if we allowed the fabulous what if and don’t know twins to take up residence in our thoughts permanently? What would happen?

Adventure. That’s what. Let it in. Go on and try.

Forget the Small Talk, Give Me the Big Talk

I’m not a fan of small talk. It feels like a waste of time, all surfacy and shallow. I want to dive in, straight to the heart of the matter with juicy conversation.

A few months ago I had the opportunity to meet one of my favorite’s favorites. He was brand new in town and we agreed to meet for a meal.

I didn’t have a great sense of him, other than our mutual association with a very bright light. After placing our order and sitting down, we both expressed our mutual dislike for small talk.

I told him about my #100UnfilteredTruths project and mentioned my apprehension with vulnerability. He suggested I take the opportunity to practice with him.

To make the conversation balanced, we began exchanging truths — one for one. Some small and silly + others so heavy and thick with emotion they filled the room.

I saw him to his very depths. His pain, the pride, and the hope. And I know he saw me too. I was moved to tears several times — by both his and my own admissions. I looked him in the eye not bothering to hide my emotion, tears filling my eyes.

What if we made the decision to go deeper with one another? To see + feel + listen without judgment — to witness emotion and acknowledge.

I often think of our conversation. I keep it close and use it as an example of how I wish to connect with others, more often.

It is my goal to live wide open; showing up and seeing you. Allowing myself to be seen — arguably, the harder of the two. What do you think? I’ll show up if you do.