Last night we had dinner some friends of Leif’s from Sweden. They are visiting Florence for a few days and invited us to join them for dinner their first night here. It was a beautiful, warm evening. Perfect for sitting out on the street eating dinner and learning about each other. This being Florence, there were several musicians who wandered through the street hoping for tips. One gentleman in particular caught our attention because he was singing in Spanish (not the perfect choice for Italy) and every time he finished a song he would give himself a standing ovation, complete with thunderous applause and shouts of “Brava!” We all laughed a little at this. Me not so much, because I know what it is like to play to a room that is ignoring your performance.
I remembered that man again this morning, when again I woke up feeling restless and uneasy and just a little blue. I have been trying to figure out what exactly is bothering me, and was just about ready to put it down to one of the stages every person moving to a new place goes through. But when I thought about that man wildly applauding himself because no one else would, I realized what I was feeling.
Today I realized that, as happy as I am and as fun as life is right now, there are things that I miss. It’s normal. I knew to expect this moment and still it surprised me with how strongly it affects me. I miss conversation that happens quickly, changes direction on a dime and includes phrases that don’t need to be explained. Not thoughtless talking really, but conversation that focuses the thought on content instead of structure. I talk about my feelings and thoughts less and less lately because it can become complicated and I don’t think I explain myself well enough to be understood by people here.
I miss my friends and family. I really am just a mouse click or phone call away, yet with time I feel people moving on, while I feel like I am treading water. I miss being able to call a friend and ask if they have time for coffee and a chat. It took me forty-eight years to gather my small circle of close friends, I am completely overwhelmed at the thought of trying to replace you all in only six months.
Most of all, I miss being needed. I have spent my life taking care of others and there is no one here who needs me. No one, old friend or new, asks to discuss their latest work or personal decisions, there are no short e-mails celebrating a good grade or even to complain about the traffic on the way home. It is my nature to nurture (say that three times fast) and with no one except myself to care for I feel a little lost and without purpose.
So, just for today, I feel like that man outside the restaurant. I feel like even in a crowd I am the only person who sees and hears me, and if I don’t applaud for myself I will cease to exist.
Tomorrow I will feel better.