For most of my life, I've considered myself a city girl. Growing up in Arkansas, all I wanted was to move to a big metropolis where I would have plenty to do and see.
Now that I'm older, and dare I say wiser, I feel what I want shifting. I've lived in San Diego for 12 years and while it is a lovely place, I want less.
I want less complication. Less traffic. Less crime. Less choice.
That's only part of the reason I've decided to move to Italy. Particularly, Calabria in the south, which I consider the underdog. People from the north look down on the south and wonder why I would want to live in such a backward place with nothing to do.
Frankly, I love a good underdog.
Slowing the Rhythm of Life
I think it's a shame that, as a society, Americans have put an emphasis on overworking, which has left little time for really enjoying what the Italians call la dolce vita. You won't find an Italian, at least in the south, working 60 hours a week. Maybe not even 40.
Every single day, between noon and four, the towns shut down. This is the time to go home and have lunch with your family. Not a quickly-scarfed meal over a computer. A home cooked, several-course meal. After that, you can take a nap. Relax. The world is not going anywhere.
I recognize that it may take some adjustment for me to get used to this. Of course, I live in an "I can have it now" society, and I have to adjust to grocery stores being closed when I think they should be open. But it's a change I welcome.
Have Your Own Slice of Italy
I get that we can't all pick up and move to Italy. But we can bring a little of that dolce vita home with us.
Take the time to pick fresh ingredients and cook from scratch, even if you're not inclined to do so. And trust me, sometimes a meal as simple as some good crusty bread, mozzarella, and prosciutto is all you need.
Work less. I know we don't all have that luxury but I think many of us do busy work because we feel like we need to be sitting in front of a desk. If you work for yourself, find a way to carve out more time for you. I don't work Fridays, and I love it. If you work for someone else, simply take what you have available. Leave the office for your lunch break instead of sitting in front of your computer and working through it. Take your breaks. Go outside and breathe the fresh air.
We get this one life. How we take advantage of what's available to us is up to us, whether we're in Italy or anywhere else in the world.