If, like us, you spent most of 2017 being ‘busy’— busy running from one meeting to the next; busy checking emails; busy ferrying the kids to and from school, busy with housework; too busy to read, too busy to listen and even too busy to stop – then it’s time to make some changes.
A new year brings new opportunity, and now is a better time than ever to take a different approach to life. Why not look to the Tuscans, and the Italian home of January's Sabatini Gin, for inspiration?
Since the 1400s, Tuscans have cherished the simple things in life.
In this beautiful part of the world, spending quality time with family and close circles of friends has long been a top priority; during the Italian Renaissance, for example, when life was highly political and bureaucracy was rife, family time was the only form of social life and was celebrated by way of veglia – the evening gathering of family and friends by the fireside where storytelling, folk singing and general merriment occurred.
Veglia is still a crucial part of modern Tuscan society, and can teach us to slow down, use all our senses, and appreciate the company of others.
So, what are the key Tuscan takeaways?
Embrace la dolce far niente, or “the sweetness of doing nothing.” The details of life are to be lingered over and savoured, like a big bowl of pasta!
Enjoy your food. Meals in Tuscan last for hours at a time – this isn’t a place to gobble down on the go. Eat slowly and with others.
Make time to relax. Don’t always be in a hurry. The world won’t end if you arrive a few minutes late.
Indulge a little. Have that extra G&T, order dessert, or take a lie in one Sunday (you may have to ship the kids off first, though!).
Take more time for friends and family. This doesn’t mean complicated, complex dinner parties. Maybe just an extra phone call, a week away with a much-missed family member, or a coffee (or G&T) with that friend you never get around to seeing.
Limit your digital activity. Social media sites and smart phones allow Italians to keep in touch with friends and family, but online communication is there to facilitate, rather than replace face-to-face interactions. By all means, message your mum to let her know where to meet you and what time, but when you get there, why not try leaving your phone in your bag?
And finally, give up (just a little bit) of control to see what life brings you. Try something you can’t pronounce on the menu, take a different route to work in the morning, smile at the bus driver… one of life’s lovely little surprises may await!