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Success, Failure...some of my greatest failures have been a springboard to my greatest successes...the terms are truly fluid.

Monday, May 14, 2012

What Have I Done?

      I have never withdrawn from my college life before…never even thought of such a thing. I would have bet that the eventuality of me leaving Oregon State University, or doing anything to jeopardize my status was completely unthinkable. The idea though of doing my schoolwork in a shotty and unworkable manner was just more unacceptable. There are few things I want more then that silly BA and the initials it can add to me name, and more importantly the more comfortable life it can afford for my family and I.

    I also just want to break free of the poverty I find myself living in and break free of the feeling that I am a frantic little hamster rolling my desperate little paws around a wheel endlessly…hoping beyond reason, it can bring me to a new destination but always finding myself in my little cage of my own making.

     In college I have had no gentle summers of swimming, sunbathing and playing with Spenchere. For Spencer, not since he was 4 ½ years old, has he had both of his parents and their undivided attention all the time.

     Instead, Spencer’s parents were “divorcing” and spent most of his childhood fretting about money and the future. He still had a good time though…and so did we…and instead of doting parents he had doing siblings and doting Cousin Gillian as well to remind him of his importance.

     Needless to say I have been on a far more intense treadmill since 2008 where I gained the new label of foreclosure victim. That is where I also gained the intense need to succeed.

     As I write this the 4,30 pm bells are peeling from the tower  in the church next door, in this tiny Abruzzo village that I find myself in…and I cannot help but be surprised at how calm and happy I feel, considering the fact that I could have ruined my life.

     The words of Stefano’s friend Luciano are ringing in my head like the bells at the church. Luciano is a thoughtful Roman born local who owns a wonderful hardware store at the base of the Gran Sasso, (the dominant feature here is a lovely set of mountains called the Big Rock). Luciano asked me at dinner our first evening in the Abruzzo how we Americans can stand our lives since we don’t even know how to stop, sit down and drink a cup of coffee. He pointed out that in America everyone was walking around with their coffees in a Starbucks to go cup. His face was appalled and concerned as he fretted about our inability to even just “sit” and drink a coffee.

      His argument came, not from disdain, but genuine concern for a people being so off track from what was important. As if we had forgotten how to live in our quest to succeed.


      His words stopped me dead in my tracks! I had visions of everyone I knew…all of us carrying our hot drinks in little uncomfortable “to go” cups. We are all running around on my hamster wheel, but we feel lucky if we can even just get a moment to stand in line and grab that cup and go. Why aren’t we demanding the chance to finish letting it cool and drinking that silly cup of liquid in the comfortable room that Starbucks already has set up for us? For years now ALL MY FRIENDS were running around with our cups in hand. I couldn’t remember the last person I had seen who actually sat quietly at home and relaxed at their kitchen table with a hot drink, slowly, drinking it.


     Luciano was absolutely right. In his extremely perceptive way he cut right to the chase of what my life was missing. Heck, let’s face it Luciano cut to the core of what was wrong with most American’s lives at this point in time.

     The last time I remember it being fashionable for people to sit and drink coffee was when I was a child in the 1970’s. My mom and Beloved Grandma Helen, enjoyed sitting around a kitchen table, clutching cups of hot coffee and just shooting the breeze with chit chat.

     That was the vision that greeted me as we drove into this small town, only instead the  women involved in my coffee Klatch memory, I saw a few tables of men sitting around with liquids, casually out in front of the coffee bar in town.

     It reminded me that when I was little, my dad used to “putter” around on the weekends. That usually entailed doing small chores but generally it was about relaxing and napping in the afternoon.

     “Quello pommerigio” …we explored Teramo. We made sure I knew where the Bancomat or ATM was located, bus stops and affordable eateries as well as the coolest library with marble steps included, but now we are back in our small town. The groceries are put away. My Oregon State University classes are dropped and I am puttering.

     The world did not grind to a halt since I stopped being responsible today. I DID grind to a halt, and I like it.

1 comment:

  1. Terri - it is okay to take a break from school and figure out what is important in life. It's even okay to take a break and live life!! 12 years ago I was working on a marketing degree and doing very well when I decided to change my life and begin doing what I wanted. I withdrew from Uni, left my husband, came on holiday to Australia, had a year off Uni, moved to Australia, started a whole new degree and the rest is history. And each of those things has contributed to me being happier than I ever thought I would or could be.

    Sometimes you have to let go to live.

    You'll be fine...the world will continue to spin. :)

    Much Love and admiration,