Me, My Heart, and I

by Melinda Gallo

A new chapter in my life

Monday, February 29, 2016

This blog entry marks the end of my previous blog “My Heart in Two Places” in which I wrote about my life as a double expat and the beginning of my new blog “Me, My Heart, and I” where I will be writing about this new chapter in my life. I have always been a true believer in the expression “Quando si chiude una porta, si apre un portone. (When one door closes, another one opens.)” I have been through a lot of deaths and rebirths in my life and even if I feel some trepidation today, I am extremely excited about this new door that has opened up to me.Me, My Heart, and I :: A new chapter in my life

When I was visiting the US last summer, the life I was living seemed to just no longer fit me. I felt quite lost and confused. I couldn’t understand why I was no longer happy because I was living in two of the most beautiful cities (Paris and Florence), I have wonderful friends and loved ones, and I was making good money. It was my creative life that was completely empty: I was writing less on my blogs and hardly even glanced at my writing projects. Any time I did look at one of them, I felt so overwhelmed that I just stopped looking at them.

When I returned to Florence after my visit to the US, I decided to stop going to Paris as often as I was. I had been going back and forth every two weeks for over four years. Even though it was exciting and fun to begin with, I eventually felt quite ungrounded. Because I was a freelance technical writer, I didn’t need to go to the office so it wasn’t a problem for my employer either.

I went back to Paris for less than a week in November and arrived a day before the tragic events. They affected me like everyone else, but they also prompted me to ponder the meaning of my own life. Could I really just keep my dreams at bay and hope that some day I’ll just accomplish them before my time is up? I thought it was quite presumptuous to believe that I would live long enough to realize my dreams at my leisure. I knew better than that. One of my writing friends passed away ten years ago before she ever published her novel and now it will never be written.

I knew that I had to stop procrastinating and I had to get myself back on track. Since I was no longer flying back and forth to Paris, I felt more grounded in Florence and was enjoying life again in my beloved city. Over the last few months, I have been concentrating more on my writing by developing a daily writing practice and by taking a few days off from work to have more time to focus on my writing projects.

Just last month, my boss called to tell me that he wanted to change my work schedule from a fulltime position to a project-based one. I was open to it since I actually wanted to only work part-time. He told me to take two weeks off while they organized themselves. In those two weeks, I completed my first draft of a book and sent it off to my editor for feedback.

My company came back and told me that they didn’t need to me to do technical writing any more. They offered me work to translate and proofread texts, which wasn’t what I wanted. Not only was the type of work not as interesting to me, but the amount of work would be less than a few hours a month. I took it as a sign that it was the right time to stop working altogether so that I could focus on my writing completely.

I thought to myself, if I don’t dedicate myself to my writing projects now, when will I? For the last year, I had wanted to make the switch, but just never felt ready to do it. And now, ready or not, here I am.

In this new blog, I will be writing about this new chapter of my life as a fulltime writer. I am no longer just dipping my toe in the writing pool, but instead diving into it head first.

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