I am in an Italian mood. One of our beautiful travel companions in Shimoda had just returned from a year in Napoli, and speaking broken Italian with her brought back some memories of my travels through the Piedmont and Genova regions.
Nostalgia is a powerful thing – I have discovered that it is my own personal nostalgias that define my identity. Financially, I am going through the hardest time in my life. Many nights, I feel like I could lose everything, and I slip into depressions – some of the deepest I have experienced so far – but rarely for longer than a couple of days.
I experienced a much lighter form of such angst while passively relying on post-MIT momentum to define my career path. I took no personal responsibilty for my life and endured weeks of insomnia, unmotivated, bored, and coasting. At the time, I was victim of a feedback of two serious character flaws: First, I was overconfident in my personal strength and second, I was hopelessly weak.
Intentionally cultivating personal strength is a dangerous trap as we can never be stronger than we are.
Since my weakest times in 2000, I have collected hundreds of mental nostalgias that ward off my darkest moments. Personal nostalgia is like an ocean that bouys your sinking spirits in spite of yourself. I want to share a few items that never fail to transport me back to the finest times of my life even though I know that it is a selfish endeavor; please excuse my self-indulgence. In the future I will give fair warning by classifying all such postings under the category of "Those Little Things."
Torino and Loano, Italy, August 2003
- Lemon soda and cappucino on a cobblestoned terrace
- S. Pellegrino mineral water (a zero-calorie indulgence)
- Cuba Libra Italiano: 20% Coke, 80% "liberty"
- Pizza diavolo