Twenty-two + Nine

By the arbitrary convention we adopted centuries ago, today is a special day. Many have called it a Twosday. It’s 22.02.2022 and it is my birthday as well.

I’ve been curiously waiting for this date for a few years now. Here’s the only thing that kinda ruins it for me: I won’t be turning 22 as well, but 31.

Oh well, I was 22 only nine years ago, and it was one of the best years of my life. No regrets.

Back then, in 2013, I graduated from my university, walked the Camino, moved to Germany in search of a new life. It was the start of a journey that has led me to where I am now, and one I could have not imagined back then. I have now, in 2022, most of what I wish I had when I was 22.

This is why I seldom feel nostalgic about the past. For sure there are moments which, when I look back, warm my heart and make me want to go back in time to experience them once again: breathing in with my eyes closed with a laurel crown on my head, arriving in Santiago under a light rain flying past whomever stood in my way, couchsurfing in Munich and meeting all sorts of people in my first “German” week.

But there were low moments as well, especially in the first part of the year. The experience of the Camino changed everything. From that point onwards, there was no turning back.

To a certain extent, this mindset still lingers with me. My mind naturally looks towards the future and whatever goal lies ahead.

However, I don’t walk anymore, and that still feels wrong. I like to hide behind the Covid excuse, but I know from my Shikoku experience that the real reason is another one: I changed over the years, and that’s OK. No reason to be sad or disappointed with myself.

It’s funny how also in last year’s post (which I’ve just now re-read while writing this) I mentioned the 22 y.o. Alessio. That old (or younger) Alessio really is a benchmark for me and one I keep going back to. Last year my outlook on the following 12 months was somewhat bleak. At least today I feel much better about the future than I did back then.

Sure, the geo-political situation is worse, especially in Eastern Europe. Cold war winds are rising and a lot of what we take for granted might be at risk. But there’s still hope.

Last year I talked about Alma Corse, and a few days ago I wrote an update on that situation as well, so I won’t repeat myself again. It still stings, but it gets better day after day.

Speaking of “Twos”, the feeling of not being alone is worth putting up with all the shit that the world throws at us every day. There were times in 2013 and 2014 where I had a heavy feeling of loneliness and didn’t have much hope in things getting better. It never got to an alarming level, but it was there. I clearly remember how it felt and how long it took for it to go away.

To the 22 y.o. Alessio from 2013 I can say this: maybe you won’t always be true to yourself, but you will feel happiness, and it will mean the world to you. A world you will not be able to walk through, like in your idealistic dreams, but one that will have a tiny place you’ll be able to call home. Finally.

Happy Twosday everyone!