2 tickets for the long way ’round

Traveling to Rome in a train that travels at 300km/h, you can’t help but to marvel at the pure human genius behind a creation like this. The human race has traveled so far, and accomplished so much, yet the person sitting in the seat next to you, traveling to the same place, at the same time, in the same city, wont say a word to you unless you initiate conversation. We have accomplished so much, in a relatively short space of time, but can not master a simple; “Hello, how are you today?” It is like we are living in an age of overqualified savants, able to master any feat we put our mind to, but the basic human functions of humanity are strange, something of a different language.

Moving to Italy has proved itself to be a challenge, a challenge I have welcomed, fought, laughed at and been scared of. Its created spaces for me to grow and learn, I teach a group of 30 adults a language some of them can barely speak, it is essentially playing Charades in front of a crowd. Telling them my age is embarrassing, as I watch them pull faces, and make remarks about how they could be my parents, but then listing my qualifications makes me feel like I’m standing in front of them with a shield, able to deflect any negative perceptions they have of my age, or ability. Teaching them a language they don’t know, and one I speak as a mother tongue and have them correct me on my grammar because “it is not like that in Italian.” Has forced me to step up to the batting plate and hit back, “well this is how it is in English, the language I speak, and you want to learn.” (I never say that last part, but I want to.) By the end of the lesson they thank me, some smiling, some rolling their eyes, all a little bit more aware that age does not determine success.

I moved to Italy to help Angelo, my husband, follow his dreams, to support him and because I love him enough to move to mars if he wanted to go. However, in the process I think I’ve learnt more about my own dreams and desires. I have learnt to stand up for myself, not take anybody opinion of me to heart, and see my success as a badge of honor, rather than a shield to deflect negative energies. I have learnt that people will go out of their way to achieve success for themselves, but if you are younger than them, they have this opinion that you don’t deserve it. I have worked hard to get where I am, since I was 16 I have never not had a job, I know what I want in life and just because I am younger than you doesn’t make my dreams or accomplishments any less valid. Just because I am married at 23, doesn’t make my love any less “mature” than yours, I am not making a mistake, I made a choice, I am growing into my role as a wife, just like every woman does.

I don’t think anyone should have to prove the quality of their success just because of their age, I also don’t think that people without any formal education cant call themselves “successful”. I think no matter your age, no matter your degree, what measures true success is whether or not you can stand in front of the mirror every morning and thank God for the life you have been given. To see the potential in your own life, that is true success.

Be Brave,

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