Learning to Slow Down

I’ve always been a go-go-go type of person. Back home, I spend most days rushing through tasks to check off everything on my to-do list. This mentality is engrained in the American culture. Although this can be a very positive thing in the sense that it has allowed me to be successful in my jobs and studies, it is so important to be able to have moments each day I am simply being, rather than always doing.

The Italian culture has much more of a slow-paced way of life, where they prioritize truly enjoying each day. Being immersed in this culture is helping me adopt this mindset as well. For example, takeout food is not common here. Breakfast is meant to be enjoyed at the bar of a local coffee shop, rather than rushing through a Starbucks drive-through before work. Lunch breaks are long, with enough time to go home and cook and enjoy a nice meal, rather than the typical thirty-minute sandwich break given in America. Walking places is often preferred, even if driving may be faster. People stop to watch the gorgeous sunsets each night.

At first, I worried this lifestyle may drive me crazy. I can be impatient and value convenience and efficiency. However, I am learning that this is actually a very beautiful way to live. Living this way allows me to make more meaningful memories and connections each day. While I know I will never be able to fully kick my old ways to the curb, each day I am attempting to find a healthy balance between being and doing. I will take this new mindset back with me to America and watch each of my days become filled with more happy and beautiful moments.

Sydney Hansen

A photo of me taking a moment to observe all the beauty to be seen in Rome.