I'm sure anyone who has ever been in a car with me has, at one point, wanted to laugh. Jump in there on some random, gloomy Monday, and I'm playing Sounds of Silence by Paul Simon. The next day, Jack's Mannequin will be blaring from the open windows. And sometimes, just sometimes, I love to jam out to Britney Spears. I said SOMETIMES, stop judging me! Anyways, certain songs just speak to you, to where you are in that moment, or maybe to where you're hoping to go. I heard someone say once "A day without music is like a year without rain." I couldn't agree more. Music helps us grow, it helps us get through things. We need it as surely as we need air or food or water. I usually don't go a few hours without listening to it, let alone a full day. I love it. And as I said, my taste can be varied and eclectic. Which is why I can openly and unabashedly proclaim that I love the song Good Life by One Republic. What did it get me through? The past 2 years.
True music lovers are definitely rolling their eyes right now, because One Republic is as generic as they come, way overplayed on the radio, and they're not exactly bringing us any classics that we'll play for our grandchildren someday. But there are many reasons I love this song. It's hard not to smile at the whistling effect in the beginning and end. The song was used as a trailer for a movie that I loved, One Day, with Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess (the book was better, but I digress). And one of my favorite couples, Julie and Dan, were introduced into their wedding reception with that song playing in the background. It's just a good song that reminds me of good things, but above all, this is the reason I love it:
It gives the reassurance that adventure awaits us all. It gives the hope that any one of us, at any time, can change our course. It gives the promise that we can all have a good life.
I never thought at the age of 30, this would be my life. I think at some point in your teenage years, you form a vision in your mind of what life is going to look like, and for me, this wasn't it. Living in my dad and stepmom's house, being single, working so hard for myself and barely breaking even... never saw any of that coming. I pictured a great job in Vermont, a husband, maybe a baby... that is what I thought 30 would look like. Car pools and juice boxes and what I've come to call a "commercial life".... BBQ's at lakes with friends, bonfires, hiking trips with a baby in one of those hippie Bjorn things. Obviously, my vision for the future wasn't 20/ 20.
Today, I leave for Ireland, where I will spend the next 3 months of my life. To say that going to Ireland is a dream come true would be a vast underestimate. Going to Ireland is everything to me. I've tried to get there so many times, only to have things fall apart at the last second, and I was always disappointed in college that I missed my opportunity to study for one semester there. My great-grandparents came over from there and settled in western MA, and whenever I look at pictures of the rolling green hills, the sheep causing traffic jams, the buskers playing music on the city streets... I just know that I'm meant to be there. I'm meant to take pictures of these things myself, I'm meant to experience them and be wide open to adventure and meet new people and have them meet me. And so two years ago, I told my mom I wanted to go to Ireland. And not just for a vacation. I wanted to go there for as long as I could. Point of fact, I told my mom I wanted to move there, although I'm glad the current state of the world and Ireland's economy helped my thinking to evolve a little bit :) After learning how hard it is to get a work visa, and realizing it would be damn near impossible for me and probably way too much hassle, I decided to go for as long as the Irish government would allow without any special type of visa, which is 3 months. Three whole months.
Am I excited? That seems to be the question I've gotten most often in the past month. People look at me with this total glow in their eyes, expecting me to be just busting out of my skin with anticipation to talk about this trip. And the truth is, the fear and terror in my eyes probably makes them back off a bit lol. I am excited, sure, but I'm also TERRIFIED. I'd say the scale was about 15% excited, 85% want-to-throw-up-from-the-anxiety. Those numbers are up from 10%/ 90%, btw, so as you can see I'm already improving.
The past few months have been hard, probably the hardest of my life. Without getting into detail, some things have happened since July that have hindered my ability to be excited about this trip quite a bit. There have been days when I've felt so sick and tired and exhausted that I've almost called the whole thing off. There have been times when I've been so overcome with excitement about this trip that I have started crying... and those times have often give way to crying fits that are happening because I'm just so overwhelmed and anxious and downright scared. And after months of this, I finally started reminding myself of one thing: this too shall pass. Happiness can be fleeting, but thank goodness, so can sadness, and at the end of the day we only have ourselves to blame for which wins out. And I'm ashamed to say that in the past few months I've let the sadness win out more days than the happiness. Out of all the things I hope to work on about myself when I'm away, that one is probably the biggest.
Life is short. And life is hard. Sometimes the tough days can feel so long that its hard to remember that tomorrow is a fresh start to pulling it back together again. We all have the opportunity at one point or another to make our dreams come true. We just have to recognize it when it comes along, be open to the possibility it brings, lean on family and friends when we need support in chasing it, and realize we have the strength and courage inside ourselves to follow through and make it happen. Every day life gives us reasons to give up, but I think we all have the power to overcome those reasons and decide to say this could be a good life. If I work hard. If I'm a good person. If I give as much as I receive and if I don't take my blessings for granted. If I make sure I earn it and that I'm open to it...And most of all, if I just relax. If I just stop comparing my life to other people's. If I have faith that things will work out the way they are supposed to... this could be a good life. This could really be a good, good life.
All the pictures on this post were taken by the lovely, talented, amazing Molly Anne! I will seriously miss her while I am gone. Thank you Molly, I looooove you!
And lastly, to all my family, friends and clients who have supported me in the past two years... words aren't enough, but THANK YOU. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for baring with me and believing in me and giving me pep talks on the days where I was ready to say heck with it and live in my parents basement forever :) You know who you are and I couldn't have gone on this trip without you. LOVE YOU ALL!
And now, since I'm not good at goodbyes, just picture me holding up a shot of whiskey and toasting you all. As they say in Ireland, slainte ;-)