In the past three days I’ve started different blog posts, all of which will get published at some point, but I’m moved to write more about this topic today. That topic is about la vita è bella (the life is beautiful) and what that really means to me.
Life, for me, has always been about the adventure and I’ve always made it a point to work hard for what it was that I wanted. Sometimes (and it happens in life) you forget to sit back, relax, and LIVE. This might sound like me sitting on a soapbox and going on some sort of a rant, but I’m simply sharing my own thoughts and story (perhaps consider this a journal). In Italia they say, “La vita è bella” which translates to “The life is beautiful” and I’m still learning everyday that life is more beautiful than what we sometimes see or feel. Not everything is perfect and that is what makes it great.
Before my gym class today, the zipper on my dress broke… basically one little thing that just made me think about the other stress that has followed me this week. Stress… it’s not fun, nor is it healthy. We try and drink certain teas, do particular workouts, vent, perhaps cry and continue to battle this emotion regularly. I live in NYC, it’s pretty much stress in a bubble… if you let it be.
When I used to think of Italia growing up, I always knew that people living in this country were more relaxed and savored life’s sweet blessings and maybe not so great blessings with incredible ease. Really, though… my first trip to Italy was when I was 18, and I remember envisioning my favorite trees (pinot marittimo), grape vineyards and good-looking people sitting outside at cafes sipping cappuccinos or having a glass of wine.
During that trip, I got the more “vanilla” tourist experience, but I did get to bask in the glory of having my own cappuccino during the afternoon at a cafe. WARNING: you do not drink cappuccinos after noon in Italia (we will cover this later, but hey, I was 18).
When I was preparing to leave my home in Los Angeles to be in Italy for almost two months with Roberto, I realized what the core of my ‘bella vita’ was. I worked as a bartender at two LA restaurants, crushing out doubles sometimes longer than 5 days in a row. Money was super tight, and I was working at creating a cushion for myself since debt had take that away from me. It wasn’t easy, I was stressed and feeling completely poor. However, I had a few things that remained constant – my heart, my faith, and my love.
I felt complete exhaustion on most days, but I had a goal because I was ready to work towards another chapter of my life and to have the chance to experience Italia with the person that I love.
There was a point in my life that I couldn’t wait to own a Louis Vuitton bag. I felt like it was an iconic piece, one that every woman should own, and that it was quite stylish. I purchased my own upon graduation from college. It was my “it” bag. Over the years I liked using it, but then I started to really think about the material things in my possession, and it made no sense for me to keep this. Heck, I like the $30 handbag I have much better. I sold it, because I wanted more money to invest into my adventure. For me, it was a great feeling. I’m not saying that you have to sell your possessions to figure out your own ‘bella vita’ but this is just me sharing my story. Truth is, I didn’t stop with the handbag, but I had so many dresses from my pageant days that needed second homes. I sold as much as I could.
After arriving in Italia, dopo (after) jet-lag, I began to realize and learn about my own bella vita. One day, we walked into the woods after an epic motorbike ride through the hills where a hidden pond lives. I can still picture the sky, a type of cyan color, without a cloud in it. I can feel the sun on my skin and watch the fish swim in the clear water. It all sounds like a fairy tale, but this sense of being is true in many other places I’ve been, but I was just not as aware as before. I discovered a slower pace and a more relaxed lifestyle. It’s something that I embody now living in NYC, which is one of the most “rushed” cities I’ve ever lived in.
During my adventure, I learned how to take the time to listen and enjoy the company of people (even if I didn’t quite speak the language). I learned how to let time pass and not be stressed about it. I got to spend time with people without spending a ton of money and actually enjoy conversations. I got to learn and share actual day to day stories about life.
I took away all of the activities, fancy handbags, happy hours and glamour of all things “instagrammable” and I was reminded of what life is really about. Connection, community and the simplicity of the little things. People enjoying people and living in a moment. This isn’t something that I can say is a staple in American culture, but it does exist. It doesn’t matter where you are located, but what matters is your mindset and perception on life. This might sound very “eat, pray, love” if you have ever read that book or seen the Julia Roberts film, but there is something to be learned from that.
One thing that I now embody in my lifestyle is to TAKE MY TIME. Everyone is always so rushed and mostly everything feels like it is on some sort of schedule. Life, for me, cannot be scheduled anymore. I urge you to try this approach, go into a weekend and let yourself relax and do nothing. I urge you to call a friend and just talk about your day to day, be realistic and find out how they are REALLY doing. I say this only because it is so easy to catch up on the next big TV show, gossip, new clothes, etc…(and while that can be fun and all) but, for me, I do not genuinely feel more connected to what real life is. Another thing that I have done is to evaluate what is really important as far as possessions go in my life. I try and keep things simple (even though I, too, find myself browsing things to purchase online) I have a new perception on need/want in my life. I really think about all of my purchases and my bank account (for the first time ever) is showing for it.
I have learned many things while exploring the Italian culture and I have been enjoying discovering my own bella vita. I have taken up this new hobby of blogging and pursuing new endeavors in the kitchen (that no longer include my past-time of generic and not-so-healthy protein and veggies) while sitting back laughing and moving through life in a new renewed way. I hope that this post can inspire you to open your own life up to what matters most to you and to always remember that “la vita è bella”.
Con un grande cuore e senza borsa (with a big heart and without a purse),