My sister picked that shirt out for me last week. She said it’s basically my theme shirt and I should wear it all the time – especially with my friends.
I wrote once about the time I Skyped with someone, got off the phone with them and a girl in the hostel looked at me. “You smile alone. You’re funny.”
A friend would later say that should be the title of my self-help book or autobiography.
“I Smile Alone.”
I ended up wearing that shirt for the first time as a pajama shirt rather than out and about with friends. When I looked in the mirror the next morning, not only did I see myself, but I could read the message perfectly. I’d put the shirt on inside-out, so looking back at me – Myself, and “You Make Me Smile.”
And it made me smile, and it made me laugh.
When I was talking to the writer and photographer at the castle in Sintra, Portugal, the ones who scoffed when I said “I’m trying to be both of you,” one of them heard about my four-month trip and with a smirk asked, “So did you come here to find yourself?”
He said it as though I must have been running, or must have had baggage at home. Yes – I changed. Immeasurably. Yes – I found out more about myself than I could have thought possible.
Did I go over to smirk-worthy “find myself” as though something in my life had been missing prior? As though I was longing to find my spot in the world because I’d previously been feeling lost? Alone?
I told him, “No, I felt pretty good before. I just came to see, learn and tell stories.”
To have had the year and the experiences I’ve just had was such a blessing. To share it – in person, on the phone, in the blog… to have people to share it with. To have people to call the second I have good news, or when I need them because I have bad news. To giggle with, to goof around with, often to overanalyze with…
There was a post Freshly Pressed the other day, and this guy is having a good week. Over 500 bloggers have “liked” it so far- my high was 130!
“Your future is about people not projects or accomplishments. Current relationships tend to maintain stability; new relationships disrupt. Treasure both.”
I didn’t go to Europe to find myself. I know where home is, and geographically, there are a few. More importantly, I know what makes me happy and I wish for everyone that they find that place. And hell, if you have to go somewhere to find yourself – take risks to find yourself – Do it! Maybe guy on the top of the castle, so sure of himself, hasn’t reached his potential. I think you’d be so boring if you didn’t think you could improve.
Life would be boring.
But none of the best of 2011 would have happened if I didn’t have these people.
Just a few of the best. Thanks, everyone.
Can’t wait to share 2012.
Now I’m done for the year.