This morning I woke up at 6am from the sound of birds, wind and the sea and from a slight chill breeze coming from my open bathroom window. I thought I had slept in but was pleasantly surprised to find myself awake before everyone else.
I took this opportunity to get ready and go out alone. I walked through Riomaggiore, down the stairs, across overlooking platforms, along the coast, and through the center of town. I took some photos and a lot of videos. I made it my goal to only speak Italian and it was so fun to say “Buongiorno” (good morning) to all of the locals here. Everyone is so kind and this place is so peaceful and quiet at this time of day.
After about 45 minutes I went and bought an Americano and sat at a bench around all of the shop owners getting set up for the day. I’m a very contemplative person who enjoys time by myself to just think and reflect. I also can get pretty anxious in general, but this morning I was the furthest from anxious that I can remember in a long time. It’s been a great reminder how small my problems are compared to how big and wonderful this world is. There’s so much beauty that I never knew even existed.
This reminds me of a quote from a book I read a couple of summers ago called Reasons to Stay Alive, by Matt Haig. It basically deals with anxiety and depressive thoughts along with reasoning behind those thoughts and ideas to escape from that cycle. Whether or not you struggle with mental health I highly recommend it. But the quote is:
“You will one day experience joy that matches this pain. You will cry euphoric tears at the Beach Boys, you will stare down at a baby’s face as she lies asleep in your lap, you will make great friends, you will eat delicious foods you haven’t tried yet, you will be able to look at a view from a high place and not assess the likelihood of dying from falling. There are books you haven’t read yet that will enrich you, films you will watch while eating extra-large buckets of popcorn, and you will dance and laugh and have sex and go for runs by the river and have late-night conversations and laugh until it hurts. Life is waiting for you. You might be stuck here for a while, but the world isn’t going anywhere. Hang on in there if you can. Life is always worth it.”
-Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
On that note, I wanted to just list some of the little things that make me happy:
- Hot coffee
- The sound of birds chirping
- A quiet town
- The sound of waves hitting rocks
- A subtle exchange of smiles with a stranger
- A deep breath of clean air
- A vast area of green trees
- Eating a really great meal with really great people
- Becoming friends with someone and feeling as if you’ve been friends for your entire life
- Doing all of the above while listening to your favorite song
Also, here is a little video of that morning that I woke up early: