Often, when I was eating as a child, my mother would say, "Take your time!" in a sing song Italian accent. This was one of her sayings and whilst my younger self would roll my eyes, at not only the fake accent, but also the idea, my mother was in fact right. Growing up, my mum would take me for lunch on a Saturday to an Italian restaurant called Lucianos in the city of Cardiff. I have vivid and fond memories of this little place, up a side alley and off the beaten track of the bustling main high street.
The place would be packed on the weekend, with waiters in white shirts weaving their way between tables, topping up carafes of water, providing dishes full of butter in ice for the fresh rolls and serving you delicious authentic meals from incredible pizzas through to the best lasagne. It was always a treat and felt like you had been transported to a little corner of Italy, with the sounds of Julio Iglesias piped through the sound system (even though he is Spanish!) and Luciano himself (I presumed) coming out of the kitchen to chat with the regulars.
The saying my mother would frequently use came from this place - the waiters would often say "Take your time!" but in real Italian sing song. They wanted you to relax and enjoy your meal, soak up the atmosphere and eat as much as you could! And, of course, the Italians know a thing or two about sitting and eating and drinking, watching the world go by and savouring the moment.
Family, time together and taking your time over a meal is at the heart of Italian cuisine and culinary etiquette. There is a slowness to what they do. In fact, it is the birthplace of the slow food movement, where in 1986 Carlo Petrini and a group of activists demonstrated on the Spanish Steps in Rome against the proposal of a McDonald's on the site. The slow food movement aims to preserve time honoured traditions of food and have three concepts of food as part of their manifesto: GOOD: quality, flavoursome and healthy food. CLEAN: production that does not harm the environment. FAIR: accessible prices for consumers and fair conditions and pay for producers.
This approach to food has spilled over into life in general with the rise in the slow movement - advocating a cultural shift and valuing a slower pace of life. I love this notion and I feel passionate about decreasing the speed at which we travel through life. I long for people in all parts of society to see the need and benefit of taking their time. I believe that living with less, simplifying our lifestyles and reducing the amount of activities we do will result in a happier, healthier and more connected world.
Today is a busy day for me, I have bills to pay, bags to pack and a daughter to get ready for her first prom. And so, my mother’s words came back to me - "Take your time!". I made some adjustments to my week and allowed for regular breaks throughout my days. I chose to do my daughters own nails, as the time spent with her chatting is more valuable than a professional set of acrylics. I chose to sit in the sunshine and eat my breakfast, rather than wolfing it down just before the school run (I mean, that term says it all!). And I started packing for our trip away in advance, so that I'm not stressed out by the thought of going away. These choices are not determined by privilege, but purpose. How do I want to spend the most valuable resource we have which is not renewable? How do I want to spend my time?
So, as always, I'd love to know how you plan to use your time? How will you adjust when life is busy and your to do list is never ending? What choices and decisions can you make to savour what is happening, rather than rushing on through as quickly as possible, just to get to the end and then start all over again? Helping my clients find time and enjoy it is one of the things I love to do as a wellbeing coach. It is also something I love to write about, and so, there may be a few more posts on this in the future.
Please feel free to share with those you know who would benefit from taking a moment and taking their time. And if you'd like to know more about how I can help you live a slower life, please reach out and get in touch - and let's live together differently!
Image via Unsplash