At this classic time of year for looking back – and forward – I’d like to cap this year of Godzillavilla stories not with what went wrong, but with what went right about the whole crazy adventure.

People are inclined to lament the passing of the villa from my life. Increasingly, I myself view it as something that can’t, actually, ever pass from me. It’s a dream that I couldn’t see through to completion in the sense of a finished house, but it has gone to completion in the sense that Godzillavilla no longer fits the needs of my family or of me. Sometimes we need to release old dreams in favour of new ones, as live unfolds. That’s not a bad thing.

Godzillavilla’s presence in our lives (and particularly in mine) has been defining in a way that will never be erased. Here are some of the things I’ve gained from my adventure with our monster:

  • A love for the incredible, serene beauty of the landscape,  something that I now understand to be vital to my wellbeing, wherever I may find it.
  • An appreciation for the connectedness of the community and its incredible willingness to help us, peripheral as we were to its daily ebb and flow. Also vital.
  • An understanding of the continuity of history, the tiny blip we make individually on its surface, and the healthy perspective that brings to our daily grumbling and sense of self-importance.
  • A knowledge of Italian life and culture that was different and more intimate than what I got from living in Milan. A crazy, delightful, sometimes frustrating, sometimes mystifying  and always edifying look at how other people find their joy and meaning.

And a deep commitment to continuing to have adventures and dreams, for the richness they bring to our lives, for the heights they inspire us to achieve, the shift in perspective they provide, and for the power those things bring to bear on even the most mundane aspects of our days.

For all of you who have been kind enough to read my tales, I wish for you a 2013 filled with dreams and adventure, and I thank you for joining me on mine. More to come!