I have written this article in my head at least 1000 times in the last 27 days. Yet, when I tried to open the macbook, I couldn't. I ardently wish to write an article in memory of my father so that even those of you who never knew him would know him because this blog exists first and foremost thanks to himwho for 33 years believed in me even when I did not and spurred me on until the last second not to settle for a life that was not tailor-made for me. Every success of mine is his, yesterday, today and tomorrow. And this pain that I carry inside me hour after hour, which almost prevents me from breathing, I hope from the bottom of my heart will turn into courage to go on being a better and better person. Talking about my father means talking about me: he and I were, are and will always be one, one soul with two hearts beating in unison. Even now, wherever he is.
My father died of the most bastard cancer of all, metastatic melanoma, on 18 December, 14 months after his diagnosis and after fighting like a lion until his last 2 days. I will never forget when my father told me about the diagnosis at Grandma's house. Just as I will never forget the series of more or less huge screw-ups I did in the months immediately following (and which I am still paying for) in order to shy away from those words 'it is a tumour that leaves no escape'. I would have traded all my remaining years to have even one with him being well, to spend every moment together doing what we loved to do: dreaming. My father taught me that "if you can dream it, you can do it'.That I have no limits except those I set for myself. That I have no walls in front of my possibilities except those that I put up myself. That I can be everything or nothing, and that this depends only on me. My father taught me that the impossible does not exist and that each goal only depends on our 'forma mentis', our will, from thecommitment we put in to reach it and by our ability to persevere in the face of nay-sayers and failures that by nature belong to us. My father, who after having his leg amputated at the end of June, came to me with his prosthesis in August after only a week of using it, and he was so good he couldn't believe it... Besides, coming to me is more difficult for a person with limited mobility because you also have to get on the ferry. But he wanted at all costs to spend August bank holiday together, at my house, and he believed it. I confess that in those days even my mother and I believed it, that he could live a few more years with that monster inside him. Of course, five years after diagnosis, there are not even 5% of sufferers still alive. But my father is different from everyone, he is my superherohe can do it... that's what I thought. Today I say fortunately he stuck his neck out and came, that I uncorked the last bottle of Dom Perignon 2004 which excited usThat I cooked all his favourite dishes, that we swam together in the pool embracing. Because those five days in August in this house are the last happy memories I have of him and me.
My father was a gentleman not only for the way he held his fork while eating, but for his attitude towards life and people. My father taught me not to get angry and complain about daily injusticesnot to raise your voice, not to throw down the phone, to always seek dialogue before confrontationto respect the rules of our society, to have a strong sense of civic duty, not to get drunk, not to pay in the Roman fashion, never to betray the trust of a companion or friend, to confront only myself, to have stoic patience, to praise the good work of others, never to show up at someone's house without a good bottle, not to take offence, to read a lot, to ignore criticism (since criticism almost always comes from those who are on a lower level than me and are consumed with envy), to always explain why I make every choice, to appreciate silence more than superfluous words, to not gossip or attract it, to not check up on people or their technological objects, to not listen to conversations to which I am not invited, to not swear or curse, to respect those who have different ideas from mine since it is a great asset to me, to always believe in the future even when they tell you there is no futureto believe that the 'White Mill' family exists and is something to aspire to, even if Rosita and Banderas don't actually live there. My father taught me all these things, although I have not always lived up to his values because last year I was so unhappy that I lost my patience and, those who know me well, know that I have an - almost - industrial amount of it. In November, however, I chose, for his sake, to come 'back to me' and This year I intend to complete this process.
That is why I decided to write from the heart these 8 good resolutions for 2019 and to dedicate them to him. With the aim of succeeding, within my limits as a human being, to to be the daughter that such an extraordinary and unusual man deserved.
Good resolutions for 2019 #1: Do today what I could do tomorrow
Those who know me well know that I am the embodiment of the ZEN spirit. Nothing shakes me. Nothing moves me. Nothing unnerves me. Everything can be done, possibly in five minutes. Or rather 10, the ideal is to think about it tomorrow. I am not a procrastinator per se, in fact I always complete my commitments on time, except for a few cases of nuclear reactors exploding south of my back. But I am not in a hurry, never. I am not in a hurry even if the ferry is about to leave, I will take one later. I have more trains missed on my CV than wines tasted, and that's saying something. Besides, who's to say that that missed train didn't actually turn into a wonderful opportunity? I'm sure you've seen Sliding Doors too. In high school I fell in love with Leibniz and his theories about the reality we see and do not see, about what lies beyond the door. Every day we make choices that inevitably change the course of our lives and we are not given to know what this actually entails. The joys and sorrows of free will some people say, but in reality it is much more complex because each of our actions opens and closes a series of paths for a whole series of other people who are directly or indirectly affected by it. I believe that every human being is connected to all others, even beyond the six degrees of separation. My every action affects the life of every inhabitant of the planet, albeit as a distant echo. This is not presumptuousness: I am affected in the same way. I have a patience and endurance in pursuing everything that is unthinkable for 99% of the world's population, of that I am absolutely certain. And that is how I can achieve anything I want, provided I am given the time to do so.
Good resolutions for 2019 #2: Getting fit in body and mind
Ah, how much my dad cared about this! He used to tell me: I made such a beautiful woman that it's a shame she fights with the scales every other year. And indeed between 2017 and 2018 I gained a lot of weight due to my inability to immediately get rid of a particularly toxic person who devastated me in every respect. However, I am happy that my father was alive enough to know that I closed the chapter, because he cared about that too. One virtue of mine is definitely that I never blame boundary conditions for my shortcomings, but as the full architect of my own destiny I am proud of my achievements and aware of my mistakes. On the other hand, talking to people close to me, I notice that this quality of mine is very rare: when they do not achieve the desired result or something does not go as they had planned, it is always the fault of the neighbour, the state, the government, the weather, the cat, you name it! Frankly, the mere idea that what I do in my life depends on something external to me terrifies me, which is why I prefer to take responsibility for both the successes and failures I achieve. The point is simple: if it is my responsibility, I can control the outcome. E if it is something in my power, I can get it. Everything is a function of my own willingness and ability to adjust if I do not achieve the desired result. Very well then! I have decided that I must lose 16 kg by 8 May, i.e. by my 34th birthday, and regain my fitness weight, which is synonymous with both Beauty and Health. Taking care of your appearance is not something that denotes superficiality, far from it: is a caress to one's self-esteem. We are an inside and an outside, and our outside is a reflection of what we are insidewhether we like it or not. And I am not talking about 'physiognomy' or those bodily characteristics that have been 'imposed' on us from birth (shape of the nose, height...), but about what is in our power, such as having well-groomed hands (I have a real fixation with hands for example). There is a song by Franco Battiato, The Interminable Path, which says: 'If you want to know your thoughts of yesterday observe your body today. If you want to know how you will be tomorrow observe your thoughts today."What do you think today?
Good resolutions for 2019 #3: Avoid toxic people and don't settle for mediocre relationships
I am very possessive and I am fully aware of it. My two dearest friends, Fabrizio and Marco, know that the day they introduce me to a woman as their fiancée she will have to pass tests not even the worst of mothers-in-law, with the full certainty that she will hate me. Maybe that is why they have never introduced me to one, but then again I prefer to live in ignorance and think that I am the only princess in their... THOUGHTS. Having said that, since 2012 I have run into a series of men so wrong and toxic that not even if I put an ad in the gazette with the title "looking for a sleazebag of the worst kind" could I get over it. Well, I admit to breaking a mirror (although I hid my hand, glass and the like) and to having endured seven years of sentimental misfortune at a level. Now I am ready to be happy, with the knowledge that a woman more 'perfect' than me does not exist and therefore I deserve the 'perfect' man or at least a first-degree substitute for him. Or his dog. [Let us remember that absolute perfection does not exist but there are people who in their imperfections are perfect for other people!] So a good kick in the ass to toxic people (they rarely have balls) and no more settling for mediocre reports. Either a man treats me like the most precious of princesses because he is fully aware of my worth or he can go peacefully to Neverland... anyway - I know, I am cynical to say this, but it is the healthy cynicism of a woman who wants to be happy - I have a queue outside the door and no desire to waste time. I love to give and receive emotional security. Toxic people steal our time and energy, and consequently more time. Time is the most precious thing we havebecause regardless of our degree of wealth, it is something we cannot buy, nor can we put aside or store. For this reason we cannot allow anyone to steal precious hours from us. We can give money or goods, but never our time. Never forget it.
Good resolutions for 2019 #4: Create at least 4 good habits and be consistent in following them
My body and mind are the receptacle of many good and equally many bad habits that I have picked up over the years. Furthermore, I am convinced that we and our results, whether good or bad, are the product of our habits. Our habits are something that is absolutely within our power to manage and control, not something external to us. Understanding this seemingly simple concept is the first step to changing what we do not like or what does not work about us. That is why I have decided this year to give myself these 4 extra good habits and stick to them day after day:
- Sleep 7 hours a day and always go to bed by 1am.
- I walk at least 10,000 steps every day regardless of the weather and my mood.
- Keep a food diary consistently. Even if I ate out or a bunch of aliens came over for dinner uninvited.
- Devote 1 hour to my body as soon as I wake up every morning to feel more beautiful and more confident. Even if I have 100 things to do.
I must say that, for example, I have already started 1 month ago to take the famous 10,000 steps every day. With very few exceptions (and I want to eliminate those too). Well, the benefit to my body and mind has been so great and palpable, that the limiting conditions of laziness and physical fatigue have faded and given way to positive beliefs. Today, I am happy to walk because well-being overcomes fatigue. In fact, I feel the fatigue less and less. And I feel less guilty about the delicacies I cook or the wines I taste. Do you walk every day or do you do other types of physical activity? Do you enjoy it? Does it make you feel good?
Good resolutions for 2019 #5: Making peace with bureaucracy and the administration of my work
Nothing annoys me more than administration. And I am the daughter of an accountant... unbelievable isn't it? Just the thought of making an invoice gives me goose bumps. The VAT round, which Fabrizio and my father have explained to me I think at least 100 times, sounds more difficult to me than the Odyssey in Latin. Already sending a registered letter or the like is complicated even if the post office is 100 metres from my house. This year, as if the electronic invoicing wasn't enough to complicate everything... well, I have decided that by 2019 I will sort everything out and learn how to manage my work correctly and on time. Without expecting the chaos to be sorted out in a day, but with the expectation of doing everything right one step at a time. After all, in life I have learnt that big changes are a process and not an event, and it is precisely when you approach them as an event that you fail in your goals. My dad always took care of everything, for almost a year he didn't take care of anything because his health condition was really tragic even though he didn't show it... and now it is up to me to continue our projects and live up to his expectations. My dad was so proud of me that he talked to everyone about everything I did, yet I have certainly not been perfect throughout my life: I have experienced failure and success in equal measure. Of course I am aware that I have built a lot, in fact a lot for being only 33 years old. I am aware that not everyone can live exactly where they want to by doing their dream job and adapting it to their lifestyle. In fact, it is rare if not very rare. But I had an equally rare fortune: a father who believed in and supported every crazy idea that came into my head from when I was born until today, and who donated what was most precious to him - his time - to help me realise it. My dad taught me that if I can dream it, I can do it, that there is no goal I cannot achieve through my intelligence and sensitivity. So gentlemen, this year I can learn how to handle invoices and administration, this is also in my power and I will do it.
Good resolutions for 2019 #6: Learning to manage my time to have more time for me
One of the most beautiful things about my job is that I almost miss it when I am not working. Yet I have spent the last three years working so much and devoting very little time to my physical and mental well-being. Let's start with one point: what does 'having more time for me' really mean? How do I want to use this time? What do I want to do with it? I am lucky enough to be doing the job I dreamt of doing when I was 8 years old, well, I might not call it 'wine blogger', but I wanted to write on a lake about something I loved and now I do exactly that. So it can be said that my main passion is already my job. Then what would I like to do with the extra time I want to have for myself? The right word is "Explore". Explore my body, explore my senses, explore the people I love, explore the world. And then I would like to 'grow up'. What is more beautiful than growing up? Even as children we want to know everything and already be grown up, then when we grow up we learn to appreciate the journey sometimes even more than the finish line. Or maybe not, the finish line is always what gives us the most joy? A little voice in my head says that an orgasm is always an orgasm, but you can get there in many ways... nah, not all orgasms are the same! So let's recap: in a day there are 24 hours, 1,440 minutes and 86,400 seconds. Every day every human being has the same amount of time, which chooses to employ in various ways among the various possibilities you have or create. I am sure that every day you too waste a lot of time on superfluous activities (e.g. do you really need to be on social media for several minutes that, when added up, turn into hours? Do you produce anything in this time?), and that we all have time to do whatever we want or need to do. So I want to learn to manage my time day by day to avoid using the most famous and overused excuse, namely: 'I didn't have time to do it'.
Good resolutions for 2019 #7: Learning to speak English fluently
When I was in France, I was practically ashamed of my English. I was the only one to do the concluding video in Italian because I was not comfortable speaking English. Sure, I have a very good knowledge of grammar... but when it comes to speaking it's a whole other matter. When I think back in high school how much fluency I had even when speaking... but how did I lose it like that? When I took the exam at university I remember I got 99/100 in grammar and 33/100 in comprehension and speaking... for a barely sufficient total and a kick up the arse that made me reach level B2. I have a job that takes me at least once a year abroad and I would like to be able to compare myself with people from all over the world without fatigue. I also have people following my blog all over the world and I would like to learn how to write well in two languages for them too. Here again, I am against full immersions, I consider them on a par with the latest American diet that promises you to lose 10 kg in a month... yes, you may be able to do it but you take it back with dear interest! Learning English, just like losing weight, is a process and not an event (you hear me say this a lot, I know!) and therefore stems from our own habits. If I devoted 30 minutes to the English language every day, in 365 days I would have devoted 10,950 minutes or more than 182 hours to it. Shall we bet that I have improved my English and become at least more fluent? However, for today I am also content to understand what people say to each other here in Monte Isola! 😁
Good resolutions for 2019 #8: Create an editorial calendar and write 8 articles each month
It is now 14 January, and the blog has been 'silent' for some time because of what has happened. I had to disconnect my brain because it was an indispensable necessity for me. Somewhat because I had already hit rock bottom in October and, without exaggeration, I spent 20 hours a day working and forgot about myself. My dad was proofreading for my book 'How to become a sommelier' (which you can buy by clicking HERE) while he was going through chemo and in and out of hospitals, on the days they told him there was no more. This book saved my life not only because it opened up the horizon for me to do exactly what I wanted to do professionally, but because it was the last project he and I did together, with the full knowledge that it would be the last one even if I didn't want to believe it. And I still don't believe it. I have promised him to stop wasting time on 'unjustly paid' jobs and devote more time to my blog, so I have decided that I will write 8 articles every month. For the time being, I do not give myself any periodicity restrictions, also because this is a blog and not a newspaper. But 8 quality articles I want to write. For my dad and for you who have been reading me for four years now. That is why every 1st of the month I have decided to create an editorial calendar and stick to it. This is also in my power. If you have any special requests for future articles, please leave me a comment.
Completing this article was vital for me. Now I can start facing the future. Now I can start working again. Now I can try to turn this emptiness and pain that eats me up inside day after day into a positive force, bit by bit and with absolute calm. My father and I had such a relationship that only my mother knows how close it was, perhaps at times 'morbid' because of our living for each other all the time. In fact, I take advantage of it here to thank my mother in front of everyone for being a woman capable of extraordinary resources. He helped and assisted my father in a way I never expected and made me realise that yes, was and is the woman who deserved such a great manand always has been, even when I didn't think so. The only good thing about the atrocity we have lived and are living through is that it has made me look at my mother in a different light and has laid a new foundation for a relationship that has been difficult for so many years and that I hope has many years ahead of it to blossom and become more and more beautiful.
By the way, for all wine producers and for all my readers: the 2019 edition of my sparkling wine guide '500 Bubbles in 500' is only postponed. This was Dad and I's project, now I have to redesign it... but I'll be up and running by Vinitaly 2019... promise! ❤
A hug and please: in this 2019 do not postpone happiness! Neither you nor I are aware of our expiry dates. We do not know how much time we have left. That is why we learn to value the really important things and learn to let go of everything that is superfluous to our happiness.
Happiness must be the 'word of 2019' for each of us.