What I learned in Italy

By Melissa Kathryn

melissaitalyI recently spent 8 days in Florence, Italy, and it was incredible.  It had been over a decade since I lived there and I couldn’t wait to see how I felt when I returned and to see what had changed in that time.  Whenever I travel, I look for lessons and things that I can take away to incorporate into my own life.  Italians have a beautiful way about them, the way they eat, view family and enjoy life.  It is something that gets lost in our culture.  We are all about quick fixes, fast and easy, super size everything and if you love, love in excess, if you spend, spend in excess, if you eat, eat in excess.

I’m not meaning to sounds like I’m knocking our country, I am so proud to be an American (I just laughed as I typed that thinking of the song) but there are ways that we are living, or in my view, not living, in which we should be.

As I walked the streets of Florence, I was reminded of how wonderful it is to simply slow down, to take in every moment and be present.  I started my trip, working, that’s right, waking up in the middle of the night to work on programs and write my marketing.  That had to stop.  So, I packed it up and made the decision to fully immerse myself in my vacation and in the Italian culture. I am half Italian so that part came naturally…

I ate beautiful food, drank incredible wine, spent hours walking endlessly through cobblestone streets filled with history, art and natural beauty.  I spoke Italian, ok, I tried to speak Italian, and I met amazing people.  I took cooking classes, visited wineries, saw the countryside and was among loved ones, my family.  Life doesn’t get much better.

So what did I learn? I clearly can’t do that everyday but what I brought back with me that I want to share with you is this:

10 Tips Italians Live By to Live your Best and Healthiest, Most Pleasurable Life Yet:

1. Be present – don’t be caught up in the past or the future, the present is what you are living and experiencing now.

2. Enjoy your meals – taste your food, engage your company, take your time eating, drinking, talking and walking.  Meals are an experience and meant to be shared and enjoyed.

3. Family is your life-line – take care of each other, make amends, communicate, be open, spend time together.

4. Move more – walk everywhere, bike, run, dance – move your body.  It’s a gift, not a chore.

5. Simplify your life – the more you have, the more you need and the more you spend.  De-clutter.  Get clear on what you really need and want.

6. Surround yourself with love – Italians are always among family and good friends. They take care of one another.  We are all brothers and sisters.

7. Live Passionately – enjoy every moment.

8. Language is everything – speak passionately, mean what you say. You are the words that you speak.

9. Simplify your meals – Italians use no more than 5 ingredients including all of their spices, which allows for the real flavors of your foods to be tasted and enjoyed.

10. Eat seasonally – eat for the season, eat fresh foods from the farmers market – less pesticides and chemicals.  Support your local farmers.

Challenge:

Incorporate at least 3 of the items listed above into your day each for 1 week and see how your day-to-day experience changes…for the better!

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