Thoughts on Capability & Rediscovery While Strolling Along the Tiber River

Some people do their best thinking in the shower. I do my best thinking in Rome. (Or maybe that’s just an excuse to spend more time in Rome). Strolling along the Tiber River while my brother recovered from an intoxicating night to say the least, I had this thought:

Sometimes I forget how gloriously capable I am.

I’m not sure if it’s the fact that travel is invigorates oneself or not having to bear the constant responsibility of 3 little people for a spell, but travel – of the adults only variety – does something to me.

Sometimes I forget that I was once a single 20 something galavanting around Boston any time of day with no problem.

Sometimes I forget that I can slip easily back into city life.

Sometimes I forget that spontaneity and a break from routine are a good thing.

Sometimes I forget that I don’t have to live in fear of my autoimmune diseases.

I’ve only been in Rome for 2 days, but I feel like I’ve rediscovered someone I once was. Someone who was up for an adventure to a speakeasy at 11pm after an 8:30pm dinner or a jaunt around the Tiber River after a typical Roman breakfast of an espresso and cornetto standing up next to the counter of a nondescript Panetteria practicing my Italian and soaking up a slice of day to day life for a Roman.

I overheard someone say they didn’t think they could travel solo. I think I could.

I spend a lot of my time anxious over my chronic illnesses. Planning my days around naps and how many activities I think I can handle without burning out. Again, maybe it’s the lack of normal day to day stressors that allows me to not plan for a nap here even though I’m walking about 10x more than usual, but I find myself wondering how I can incorporate this into my “real” life. How I can pack up a piece of Italian Meredith and bring her home to the U.S.?

Maybe I just need to plan an “Italian day” at home where I walk more than normal and go to the nearest train stop and explore my corner of the world. Maybe I need to find a way to resist the demands of American life and American parenting. Maybe it’s not the world around me that needs to change, but me.

Maybe I just need to enjoy this time, sitting by the Tiber River on a rock listening to the water rustling under the bridge connecting Trastevere to Rome proper on a 60 degree sunny day in November and soak up this adventure. This pause. This joy.

And carry it within me back home.

Ciao, Meredith

3 thoughts on “Thoughts on Capability & Rediscovery While Strolling Along the Tiber River

  1. Oh, I get it completely. When my girls were maybe 1 and 3 I went on a trip to a hot springs that’s 6 hours away and totally off grid. Like, even if my husband could call, there would be no point in calling me in an emergency because I would simply be too far away to do anything. And as I unpacked my bags I felt the two little satellite dishes in my brain that are constantly attuned to “is someone hurt? Does someone need a diaper change? A snack? A nap? How long have they been napping and should I wake them up because you’re not supposed to wake a sleeping baby but if I let her sleep all afternoon then she won’t sleep until late tonight and tomorrow will be Totally Fucked…” I felt those two little satellite dishes fold up and slot away in my brain [cue Transformer noise] and I felt that tingle and progressive warmth like that kid’s game where someone pretends to Crack an egg on your head. And it went down my whole body and I finally fully relaxed for the first time in literal years. And since then I have prioritized getting away from my family for overnights, weekends, week-long workshops, because OMG, it makes such a huge difference. Of course right now I am isolating away from my family because I have COVID which is not the same as a lovely girls weekend at a hot springs, but I can eat whatever I want, and watch whatever I want, and not referee anyone’s arguments, answer questions that they could just have easily gone to my husband about, or listen to the stunning background noise of Ninjago. I would prefer Italy, but this isn’t so bad.

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    1. I’m so sorry you have Covid! But yes, I realized I needed to plan a trip when I was jealous that my husband got Covid-19 because he got to eat and watch whatever he wanted isolated away from us which is WILD. I like how you described it though, it is like having a satellite or turning the tv noise that is always going on in the background of your brain that is the running train of thoughts of things you have to do and think about in any given day with a bunch of kids running around. We need to power that off sometimes I think. And there’s something about being far enough away that you really can’t get involved and you really are “off” for a while — I guess what i’m saying is I’m not sure a night or two away in a nearby hotel would have the same effect.

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      1. No, you have to get inconveniently far away and hard to reach. A change in time zones is good because it reduces the likelihood of someone calling you and asking where their purple shirt is. It’s lovely to be someplace and think about “what do *I* want to do/eat/see, without regard for the tastes and interests of children. (I know some people take their children absolutely everywhere, but I am not interested in hearing whining or dragging feet on my vacations, and there are some spaces that IMO really should be for grownups only, like really fancy restaurants and museums where the breakable art is just too available to little hands.

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