So amazing what a learning experience this is for me here on this hill. I mean. Little did I know that me left alone with my own thoughts due to the silence and lack of "things to distract me" in my immediate vicinity would yield so much difficulty and emotional "pain" as it were. Feelings of guilt because I left a 6 figure job and an expensive apt in Manhattan. How dare I drop out of the corporate mecca that I had spent the last 25+ years circumnavigating. Hell I only just this past year got back to the salary I was earning back in 2007 when I was relocated to LA for a big job! What happened to my drive? My ambition? My power hungry "I want to win" competitive edge. I sit here with the winds blowing outside wondering what is going to come of this journey. How will I evolve and I have to believe it will be for the betterment of being.
I sit here today working on an outline for a lecture on branding that I have to give on July 5th to some heads of small export companies here. And I am struggling with the material. I have been selling this stuff and writing proposals about it for years and it took me an entire day to craft an outline for a day long class!?? And now, I have to fill that outline up with content. And I'm a tad panicked! What happened to my ability to throw 50+ slides together for a very important career defining meeting in less than a day!?? Am I getting soft? Lazy? Or do I simply feel as though this has little meaning? How can it have little meaning if it is intended to share my knowledge with Italians of another culture who are eager to learn from the way we do it on Madison Avenue? How can I not be all up in my face wanting to make this the best it can be!?
It's not that I can't do this but that I am telling myself I don't want to because I am scared. Again. To not do a good job. This nagging self doubt as I sit here trying to figure out what's next will need to either move itself along or I need to give it a good swift kick because it's not helping me move forward.
Today my friend in India told me that I took the biggest gamble of my life coming here and that now that I am here I have to learn to create the work ethic for myself and my own work that I gave so generously to my employers all these years. How do I structure and turn this into a successful enterprise over here? I am surrounded by small export companies and young managers who need help. I need to help them. By helping them I give back and maybe even save a company from going bankrupt in the process?
Why do I constantly feel that not doing 180 million things at one time all suited up for success is failing to "be working" or is this the detox in workaholics rehab that everyone told me was coming.
My friend up in Switzerland was laid off in January 2013. He has a one year paid severence package and a non compete clause for that same time period. He is now going to invest and build his own wealth management advisory bank. He is risking a lot to try and make this work with 4 collegues of his. It seems as though as we hit 50 (at least some of us) we are either let go of, or we stand in place doing what pays us every month so we can make bills. I feel like what i did was nothing short of totally crazy and lunatic by walking from such a seemingly great job that i was bored of and in because i wanted to come to Italy to establish things that mattered to me while I got a little business off the ground in order to make some money to live well and travel when I wanted to. I came here for that reason. And now I have the schizophrenia of wanting to run home with wanting to give it a real shot. My fears my worries over money all of this stuff. So safe and so secure for so long..but was I really safe and secure back in my Manhattan abode or was that all just my own illusion?
I have downsized to the bare minimum and am aiming to live on an expense line item of less than $1800 per month all inclusive here in the mountains of Tuscany at least through the summer. I mean I don't do much shopping other than to buy food and niblets for our resident "gatti" and I spend a lot of time trying to figure out "the second half" How to make it real and satisfying. How to keep it real and authentic. Who is to say that I cannot do what Prabal today suggested and actually find amazing artistic product somewhere in crumbling Europe that I cannot export back into the USA in high net worth areas for a decent margin?
But. Do I have the guts to make the investment in myself? To spend down some savings to try? Or will i sit here and hope to get another JOB for the paycheck every month or will it be both? One thing is for sure, I am still confused and scared and from today on I am going to try and be nothing but overly optimistic because to not be is a death sentence. I look back at my old life in NYC and cannot say that I miss "IT" much. I just miss or dont know how to exist without WORKING ALL THE TIME or working at a pace where i never stopped to listen to people nor did i even want to talk on the phone much with people. Crammed days. Now my days are my own. And I need to learn to structure them and focus them for me so that i can succeed and make this dream come true for myself. Or not.
Today the weather is shifting here in Tuscany for the remainder of the week. We are to have rain and clouds and cooler temperatures Tues-Friday and the winds are howling up here in the monte. I am having a Diane Lane in an "Under the Tuscan Sun" period here with doors slamming around, curtains blowing off windows, spider webs coming undone in the crevices of this retrofitted stable / barn home we live in. And..in addition to the gatti out front? An Owl showed up and perched right outside on the edge of the Terrazza--stared at me and me at him for a good 10 seconds and then he just majestically flew off into the mountain!? Was that a sign for me? Was he my keeper or guardian angel or was he sent to deliver a message to me, one that I do not think I received today but maybe he will be back. I liked him, Mr. Tuscan Owl visiting on a stroke of wind.
I have a lot to do on this presentation this week BEFORE Friday and so I must try to focus and structure and believe that THIS IS AS IMPORTANT AS ANY NEW BUSINESS SALES PITCH I HAVE EVER GIVEN because some people may walk away from the day's lecture doing things differently in their life and work and that would have been because of my presentation. So. I need to get out of myself and make it count for other people.
It's a hard journey this one that I am on. Everyone around me who knows me thinks I can do this. I seem to be the only one who lacks the confidence....
I learned how to keep the laundry rack from falling over due to the winds today...lovely what a pair of 2 deck chairs can do in terms of drying your laundry (we dont have dryers here in ITALY, folks..its au naturale as in the wind and the air and if its raining and winter oh well its just going to be a week before everything dries that's all but I can't think that far in advance.
Friday is my birthday party with the Reggiani and I have to get this work done STAT. I also am trying to devise a way to earn some money so that i can go to India in early November for 2 weeks for the Hindu New Year. Its only 8.5 hours flying time from here and PK is there for the next 6 months. How amazing would that be to see the country with him as my guide!? I also am making plans to see friends in Belgium and Switzerland in July and August and Gianni and Jackie will be about 45 mins away on the beach in San Vicenzo beginning next week so...human connection will soon be possible!
Crap I need to figure this out and get productive! I need to get back to my old ME in terms of output. I have got to UNBLOCK! UNBLOCKING GODS PLEASE HELP ME!
Or Mr. Owl come back and tell me how to unblock as you seem to be having no problem flying free all around the regione!
Signing off from Tuscany for this 24th day part of June.....there goes the cow bellowing..must be feeding time.....
How to keep the wind from knocking over the "drying" laundry- Deck Chairs! GENIUS!
This would be my bath (bagno)
This is the REALLY BAD KITCHEN meant for summer holiday residing only but GG and I we manage to make some good meals in this discombobulated set up!
Salotto--the Main Room. Rustico for sure. There is no way I can live here in
wintertime as its freezing up here---he needs a STOVE THAT BURNS WOOD PELLETS THIS YEAR!
My room. My bedspread and am back in a twin bed like a little 4 yr old-but the plan was to move upstairs to floor two in the fall and have a double size bed again..it sure ain't my lofty queen packed back into storage in NJ that is for sure..but how much does that matter--REALLY!?