Biggest Lesson of The Year- The Spirit of Loneliness

One of the biggest lessons I’ve gained in 2017 was the different shades of loneliness. Even for an independent person as myself I still managed to discover pockets of loneliness in my mind. By embracing loneliness it allowed me grow and cope through the moments I wasn’t sure I could get through.

I had this experience when I was in Italy hiking Cinque Terre that sums it up well.

As I was hiking from Monteresso to Vernazza I realized I was doing something I only dreamed of. I never imagined I’d be doing it alone though, but there I was. Accomplishing one of my dreams. On one hand I found myself wondering why am I alone, but stopped myself from spiraling into a deep hole. Because really this hike was so beautiful even though it was an experience I shared with only myself. It was bliss.

I was on my hands and knees at one point climbing and still smiling. The photos I took couldn’t capture the beauty I smelled, saw, felt, heard, or the sweat I tasted on my lips. I kept looking at the ocean. Wondering how the water could be this perfectly clear, teal green? An ocean so inviting. To me it was the perfect place to live if I was going to be a mermaid. This is the water I’d choose as my home.

I wanted to engage with people even if I didn’t know Italian. I found myself trying to listen in conversations imaging the sentences exchanged between them.

I was in the 4th village at a focaccia bakery. There was music which drew me into the eatery, besides the smell. I came in and I saw a beautiful man serving the food. I couldn’t help but stare. I just didn’t understand how all the men here were so beautiful. Did they know they were beautiful? He was this athletic gorgeous man serving me the most delicious cheese bread I’d ever had.

I stared at him eating my thousand calorie cheese focaccia bread. Which he asked if it was ok? And told me it’s better than cheddar cheese, knowing I was American. I nodded still never taking my eyes off of him.

When I think about my adventures this last year traveling in Europe and also in the most desolate locations in the Middle East; I feel as though I’ve been gifted the experiences of loneliness. But in so many ways I almost feel like it’s a necessary tunnel to get to where we all need to be.

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