WHAT I LEARNED FROME THE ITALIANS
BY SARAH GAFFNEY
About a year ago, I made a pretty substantial career move. For a long time, I had a strong urge to leave my job and start all over again. I kept telling my husband that there was something inside me, telling me that there had to be more to life than where I was. With my husband’s support, I quit my job in the agency world, and went to Italy.
Some may call it a quarter-life crisis, but for me it was a much needed break. I didn’t have a plan; I really didn’t know what was next. As my plane took off for Rome, being newly unemployed in one of the worst recessions in history, I felt a sense of freedom wash over me that I hadn’t felt in years.
Going to Italy was the best place I could have chosen to reflect and find myself again. The Italian culture is like no other. Their people are passionate, and understand how to enjoy life to the fullest. I got lost in museums for days, staring at work from the greatest masters, window shopped, and people watched. I lingered over long afternoon lunches, 3 courses, wine and espresso. I climbed Giotto’s Tower in Florence, walked the ruins of Pompeii, went to mass at St.Peters, stood at the center of the Pantheon, and looked up through its majestic eye.
When I returned home to my family, I was refreshed, renewed, and ready for the next chapter in my life. A year later, I feel balanced. I have since started my own company and am self-employed. It was the best decision I have ever made.
So what did I learn from the Italians? To take more time with my children, even when we are running late. To remember to enjoy the simple things, like the perfect cup of coffee and great conversation. To keep family and friendship my top priority, and to make time to enjoy those people. And most importantly, never to use Parmesan cheese from a can.
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