Have you ever dreamed of something – hoped for it, saved for it, imagined it – only to find out it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be? That’s what happened to me on my recent trip to Italy.
You see, years ago I heard about an area called Cinque Terra. It was described as a rugged portion of the coast on the Italian Riviera with five villages built into the cliffs. It sounded so romantic, and any photo I saw of the area was breathtaking. I just had to go and experience it for myself.
So I saved and waited and saved some more. And when I arrived, this is what I saw! Hordes and hordes of tourists – so many that you could hardly move. I learned later that each of the five towns has about 400 residents each, yet every year they have 1.2 billion visitors. That’s billions with a capital B. You had to fight your way to get on the trains, and sometimes the hiking trails were so crowded you were at a total standstill.
So much for my vision of sitting at a local cafe, sipping a cappuccino with the Italian residents.
Now, don’t get me wrong. It was still beautiful – just not the way I had imagined it. So what do you do? How do you handle a situation like this?
For me, I made a conscious choice to see the beauty that surrounded me. I remembered the words of Mary Engelbreit: “If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”
I knew I would probably never be in this part of Italy again. So I embraced the craziness and started conversations with visitors that surrounded me. And then I ordered a bottle of wine – the local wine that you can’t get anywhere else. I began to embrace the uniqueness of this area. It didn’t happen immediately, but every time I found myself getting annoyed with the crowds, I simply said: “I am grateful for ________________.”
Now it’s your turn to fill in the blank. No matter what is happening around you, good or bad, there is always something to be grateful for. What memories will you choose to make?