By the time you hit midlife crisis, life teaches you that you can’t control falling in love. This will usually happen when you least expect it and it can be with a book, a person, a pair of shoes, a city, a pet, a hobby, a project or a place. Basically anything that either makes you feel good about yourself or that gives you a different, desirable perspective on life.

I remember that day like it was yesterday. I saw its ruins for the first time I saw anything abroad my home country.

It made me feel free – because it welcomed me young, far away from home, alone and in a new place that broadened my horizons – a place that until then seemed out of my reach.

It made me feel powerful because it showed me what it feels like for money not to matter, and how far I could go if I set my mind to it. In those moments when I was enjoying a sunny day, listening to good music in my headphones while walking on crowded streets, I felt on top of the world.

It made me feel alive. That place resembles a person that truly lives, as it is filled with history, and gives you the impression that every single event from the past left its mark on it. From its ruins and monuments, that are isolated within fences as testimonials of past lives to its streets and buildings carrying the marks of the past, but shaped as to withstand a modern present and a bright future.

It made me feel hopeful. It’s almost always sunny there, a sun that exaggerates in welcoming foreigners, like wanting to tear something new from the outside world, a piece of every culture to enrich its traditions and to become the best it can be.

It made me feel home. The streets are always busy there. I think that city made a deal for companionship with God. I don’t think it likes being lonely very much, but with the music in the taverns, its tourists and lively locals, how could it ever be that way?

It made me feel happy. I have experienced happiness in many forms, and I can clearly state that there weren’t two different times it felt the same way. I’m puzzled by how many good things exist in opposition with one another, like the feeling of power with the one of surrender, the feeling of stability with the one of adventure, the feeling of peace with the one of chaotic living, the feeling of abundance with the one of measure, the feeling of independence with the one of belonging. They are all amazing once you decide. Leaving it to chance will only lead you to regret the path you didn’t walk on.

That place has the perfect balance of tenses happening in the same time: it’s a unique mix of the nostalgia of the past, the adrenaline of the present and the optimism of the future.

You can fall in love with anything that reflects you.

I love ruins. (Dedicated to Athens)

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