2010: The Year I Fix My Life

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People who know me even slightly, know that I love a good resolution. My OCD tweaker self loves coming up with new ways of trying to put some order to my messy, complicated life, just as much as she loves coming up with new ways of making every single project more byzantine and difficult.

I’m a perfectionist with completion issues. Which is a crap combination.

The last time that my life really ran efficiently was in December…of 2005. I was walking in Rome, by myself, through Circo Massimo, in the pouring rain, when it occurred to me that I was super-duper, insanely happy. At that moment I had an epiphany: the only thing that I was missing about any part of my life back in Los Angeles was my dog. I didn’t miss my house, or my job, or even my friends and family. Which was a rather shocking realization, particularly since I am an OCD tweaker who struggles every day to disconnect herself from the ridiculous and often stupid details of the modern world.

About one minute after having this epiphany, I decided that I needed to move to Rome, officially becoming part of that asshat club of magical thinkers who believe that all of life’s woes can be solved with just a change in geography.

But let’s face facts: when I am in Rome, I’m a much better version of myself than when I’m in Los Angeles. As a roman, I’m practically bionic. Consider the evidence:

1. When I’m in Rome I weigh, on average, about 10 pounds less than I do in Los Angeles, even though I eat gelato every day along with some combination of cheese, gelato, deep fried fish, white bread, pasta, gelato and gelato. I chalk this weight loss up to the fact that I walk anywhere from ten to twenty miles on a typical day in the Eternal City. Which brings me to–

2. When I’m in Rome, my carbon footprint is much smaller. In addition to not driving by myself, anywhere, ever, because of my profound fear of roman drivers, I live in a smaller place, use fewer resources, and produce less trash. And, since I’m living much closer to my eco-values, I feel so much better about my life in general.

3. Even though I’m a minimalist by American standards, I can live with even fewer material goods in Italy. I’ve discovered that I don’t really need to own anything beyond a computer, phone, camera and comfy bed to make my life work well enough to fool anyone into believing I’m not living out of a carry-on suitcase for months on end, which is exactly how I live, when I’m in Rome.

4. In Rome I’m brilliant at my job…in Los Angeles. Since Rome is nine hours ahead of LA, I really only have two hours of work day cross-over between the two cities. In Rome, the shops close at 6pm and restaurants don’t start serving dinner until 8pm. 6pm-8pm in Rome is 9am-11am in The City of Angels. Hilariously, what takes me all day long in Los Angeles takes me a mere two hours in Rome. Why? Because everyone runs to the phone when you tell them you are “calling from Rome.” It’s kind of like what making a cell phone call was like in 1987, with everyone treating your call like it’s special, just because of where you are calling from, not who you are. And because 90% of my job is talking on the phone, immediately getting people on the phone, dramatically cuts down the time I spend on hold or waiting for a call back.

5. Because my roman office hours are 120 minutes long, Rome is pretty much the only place on the planet that I have a life of leisure. Reading and writing for work is done at a relaxed pace. Since I’m nine hours ahead of everyone else’s business day, there are no annoying phone calls to interrupt my work flow, and emails and other written correspondence have time to fully percolate in my brain before being sent.

It’s no surprise to me that the Slow Food Movement got its start in Rome. None of my friends in Rome own a microwave and there is no Italian translation for “commuter mug.” If I want a cup of coffee, I go to il caffe, stand at the bar with my fellow man, and drink a very tiny espresso that is served to me in a proper cup with saucer. The bulk of my days in Rome are spent reading, writing, knitting, and and taking long walks through the city, usually to meet up with a friend.

I miss the city of Rome like I miss a person.

On New Year’s Day 2006, I threw a coin into the Trevi Fountain and wished for a roman apartment. I resolved at that moment to move to Rome in 2010 and that I would spend the next four years preparing for this move. I’d work on becoming fluent in Italian, sell all my extraneous possessions and sock away a couple years of living expenses. In 2010, I’d move to Rome and figure things out as I went along. But, there was an unforeseen crimp in my plan: in 2007 I fell in love with Mr. Foxypants. Luckily he shares my expatriate fantasies, but unfortunately, he is tied by his job and his house to Los Angeles, at least for the time being. I thought that finding my partner in life would dampen my desire for a permanent roman holiday, but it hasn’t. My future roman apartment beckons. It remains the big, invisible hand that pushes me toward certain life choices and away from others. So, although I won’t be moving to Rome this year, every day I still wake up thinking: “What can I do today to bring me (and Mr. Foxypants) closer to getting our roman apartment?”

Which is why this year, 2010, is the year that I finally fix my life.

And by fix, I mean literally.

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