Riposo (a time for afternoon rest) is a serious Italian tradition

Riposo (a time for afternoon rest) is a serious Italian tradition

Italian riposo is a time of day when towns look deserted.

Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on rubymontalvo.com
Sacile square during riposo

Anywhere between the hours of noon and 4 pm, riposo is a time when shops, offices, and other businesses close so workers can have time for family and rest. You may find a restaurant or two open, but don’t count on it.

Most businesses post their hours accordingly. One shop may be closed 12:30 – 3:30 and another may be closed from 1-4.

The first few days we were in Italy we forgot that if we wanted to go out for lunch or go shopping in the afternoon, we’d have very few options, if any.

Businesses in the main tourist areas of Rome, Florence, and Venice don’t observe riposo like they do in the small towns.

Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on rubymontalvo.com
An afternoon in Italy

It had not occurred to me before, but four hours in the middle of the day is a pretty big chunk of time.

At first it seemed crazy that entire towns shut down. No shopping? No going to lunch? Probably not.

Riposo in the US?

I can’t imagine riposo in the states, except maybe in very small towns.

Being able to take a few hours every afternoon to rest or spend time with family? Sounds great, doesn’t it?

You’re probably thinking (like I did) about how much more you could do if you had a few hours off during the day.

But before you imagine checking things off your to-do list, keep in mind you wouldn’t be able to run errands or shop because everything would be closed.

You might be forced to rest. Can you imagine it?

It might take a little while, but I think I’d adjust.

Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on rubymontalvo.com

How a simple expression of love turned a bad day around

Everyone has a bad day sometimes. Not the worst kind where something major happens that turns your life upside down.

I’m talking about the regular kind of bad day where nothing seems to go right and people aren’t nice and stuff seems kind of pointless. That kind.

I had a day like that last week.

Maybe I was due for a bad day. I’d just had an amazing vacation in Italy and was feeling energized, ready to buckle down and get stuff done. The sun was shining and all was right with the world.

I scheduled a long overdue pedicure appointment for later that afternoon and got to work.

But my upbeat mood and momentum slowed almost as soon as I started working in the not-so-user-friendly Photoshop application. I’ll spare you the details except to say it’s like losing your car keys when you’re running late for work and you can picture them in your hand. Frustrating.

What I thought would take just a few minutes was taking more than an hour. I felt my jaw clench and the muscles in my neck ball up, but I couldn’t pull myself away.

Then I remembered my pedicure appointment. Perfect. I could get away from the computer, take my mind off Photoshop, and relax in the massage chair.

Or not

The owner/nail tech was on the phone when I walked in and she stayed on the phone instead of speaking to me. Instead, she directed me with gestures like pointing to the nail polish rack to pick out a color and patting the chair where I was to sit.

But worse than that was when she finally got off the phone and proceeded to complain about people who don’t get regular pedicures and then expect miracles on their feet, blah, blah, blah.

I knew I was overdue for a pedicure. Then I realized she was complaining about me to me! I should have been mad, but I just felt bad in a couple of different ways.

I didn’t say another word, just sat there in pathetic silence.

Later I thought I should have stopped her, gotten up, and left because that was uncalled for. But I didn’t. I let her do her job which she did well, except for disregarding courtesy.

Is it me?

After that, I stopped to pick up a pair of pants that hadn’t come in in time for me to take on my trip.

It seems petty to detail the sales clerk’s rudeness, so I’ll just say there was so little communication, verbal and nonverbal, between us that I didn’t know when she was done with me and expected me to leave. Never said thank you, didn’t smile.

I walked out without saying a word, but thinking, “Is it me? Am I invisible?”

Even though these were stupid encounters with people I didn’t even know, I felt a little beat up.

Maybe it was just the process of getting back to reality, but why do people have to be so rude? As much as I tried to shake off that crappy feeling, I had let them get to me.

I felt invisible and like a major loser — an unproductive, invisible loser.

Then something amazing happened.

When I got home and walked in the door, my dog ran to greet me like she always does, with her tail wagging and a smile on her face.

I had to smile back. She delivered exactly what I needed at that moment — a reminder that I was loved.

And not just by her.

Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on rubymontalvo.com
That face.

At that moment I thought about the people in my life who love me and who I love and about how blessed and lucky I am and it doesn’t matter that I couldn’t figure out Photoshop or that the nail tech was a meany or that a store clerk was rude.

Those are small things.

Having people in my life who love me and care whether I’m there or not…those are big things. Way bigger than the petty stuff I was letting get me down, even though it’s tempting to get tangled up in the petty crap.

It’s still a choice.

They say it takes ten positive statements to cancel out one negative statement.

But it can be hard to blow off negativity and pettiness and even a hundred positive statements won’t be enough to shake off a rude comment.

There was a time when I would have hung on to the negative vibes instead of choosing to focus on the positive and embrace the love that surrounds me.

It’s a life lesson I know, but sometimes still need to be reminded: Life’s too short to get bogged down by pettiness. Better to count your blessings, know you’re loved, and move on.

Photo by Ruby Montalvo published rubymontalvo.com

Waiting for “someday” puts dreams out of reach

I had wanted to visit Italy for a long time, to marvel at The Coliseum and The Sistine Chapel in Rome and the Statue of David and Il Duomo in Florence.

Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on rubymontalvo.com
The Colosseum in Rome

I say I wanted to go, but I never did anything to get me there, never even researched the cost of airfare. Visiting Italy was one of those things I put off for “someday”.

Then something unexpected happened.

My daughter married into the military and guess where she’d be living for the next few years…

You got it. Italy!

Suddenly a trip to Italy became more about seeing my daughter than seeing the ruins of Rome or any of Italy’s amazing artifacts. Way more important than any of those things, I missed my daughter and she was there.

Having her there was a game-changer for me.

After all those years of wanting to go, that’s what finally got me there.

Of course, while I was there I’d visit some of those amazing places I’d always dreamed of visiting, but that was just a bonus.

Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on rubymontalvo.com
My daughter and grand dog

The highlight of the trip was visiting with my daughter and son-in-law and my grand dog, but the tourist part was pretty awesome too.

What took me so long to do it?

After a day in Rome, I wondered why I hadn’t come sooner. Going to Italy is something I’d wanted to do ever since I can remember. Of all the countries I’d ever wanted to visit, Italy was at the top of the list.

I’ve been fascinated with Italy since I was in high school when I first read Shakespeare’s plays, many of which were set in Italy, like Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, and when I learned about The Italian Renaissance.

I took History of Western Civilization my first year of college and listened in awe as my professor described the cathedrals and great works of art of The Italian Renaissance.

I even took a semester of Italian and an Italian Civilization class when I was probably 20.

And now I’m a few months away from celebrating my 56th birthday. I figure I’ve had more than 30 years to make my “someday” happen. Sure, it’s not cheap, but even saving $20 a month toward a trip to Italy would have gotten me there by my 40th birthday.

It wasn’t so difficult to do. What took me so long to get to there?

I realized that I’d made Italy a “someday” wish instead of taking the steps to make it a reality. All these years I’d settled on experiencing Italy through textbooks, literature, and other people’s experiences.

When I thought of it as something I’d like to do “someday”, I put it way in the back of my mind out of reach.

Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on rubymontalvo.com
The Vatican

Excuses, obstacles, and other reasons.

This experience has me wondering what else I’ve put off for “someday”. Now I know there’s no good reason to wait.

Waiting for someday takes time for granted. I want to stop doing that.

Do you have something you’re putting off for “someday”?

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Have a vision of what you want even if it doesn’t seem possible

Vision: An imagined idea or a goal to which one aspires.

You may have heard the news a few weeks ago about Mike Hughes, the man who designed and built a rocket, even though he’s not an engineer, and launched himself in it. You can read the story here if you missed it.

Amazingly, he survived a hard landing in the Mojave Desert. Even though it doesn’t really have anything to do with the story, it’s interesting to note that he also thinks the earth is shaped like a frisbee, as in not round.

Sound crazy? You might think so. Lots of people do.

Say what you will, but the man has vision. And commitment to it.

Photo courtesy of PxHere published on rubymontalvo.com
Photo courtesy of PxHere

Do you have vision?

When we say of a person: “She has vision,” it sounds big. Big idea, big goals, global.

Tesla’s vision is space travel for the common man. Big. Huge. Interstellar huge.

Photo courtesy of Max Pixel published on rubymontalvo.com
Photo courtesy of Max Pixel

It doesn’t have to be. Yours could be something as simple as being debt free, running a marathon, or getting off medication, to name a few.

But, you could want to launch yourself on a rocket you made in your garage. Either way.

If you have a goal or imagine doing something you only see yourself doing in your wildest dreams, then you have vision.

Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others. ~ Jonathan Swift
No one else has to see it. As long as you see it, it’s possible.

So how’s your vision? What do you want to do or create? It starts with a vision and then you have to get to work.

Almost certainly, there’ll be people who don’t see it, who say it’ll never happen and believe you’ll never do it. There’ll be people who celebrate your failures. You can be sure of that.

But there will also be people who cheer you on and believe in your vision even though they can’t see it. They’ll have faith in you and trust that you see it and trust that you’ll make it a reality.

You can create a Dream Board to help clarify your vision. (Read My dreamboard and the law of attraction) You have to have a goal if you’re ever going to reach it.

What is your goal? Your imagined idea?

Dare to dream. Have a vision. Why not make it big?

Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on strong-woman.com

Be patient and trust the process when it feels like you’re getting nowhere

Have you ever felt like you were fumbling along just trying to figure things out and hoping for the best? Like you don’t know what the heck you’re doing. Parenting can feel a lot like that (it did for me!), or taking a leap of faith without a net.

In a previous blogpost, What to do when you feel stuck in the weeds I covered some tips to help get you through those times when you feel unfocused, overwhelmed, or unsure you’re on the right track.

That’s what I call being in the weeds. The tips:

  1. Stay flexible
  2. Connect with people who’ve been where you are
  3. Find a process that works for you
  4. Trust the process

If you missed the post about being flexible, click hereOr the 2nd post about connecting with people who’ve been where you are, click here. Or the 3rd about finding a process that works for you, click here.

So you’ve been flexible to help you find your way back to your clear path, you’ve done your research and decided on a process to help get you there, and you’ve gotten started.

Time to trust the process

Even when you have a roadmap to get where you’re going, you’re bound to face unexpected challenges that get you off-track along the way. Weeds. Don’t let them stop you. Make adjustments and regroup if necessary, then keep moving forward and don’t give up.

But we can be impatient. We want results because we want to know that our investments — our time, effort, money — will be worthwhile.

No one likes failing. Sure it feel great to win. It’s validation. Winning validates that your work, blood, sweat, and tears have not been wasted.

Failure can be tough on the ego, on the psyche.

But what if we back it up and look at what we’re doing and trust the process.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay Creative Commons published on rubymontalvo.com
Photo courtesy of Pixabay Creative Commons

Use it as a guide

Maintain flexibility and tweak as necessary.

We learn best by doing and things will not always go as planned. Sometimes they’re way better than we planned, but inevitably there’ll be times when they’re way worse.

No problem. Do it again. Julia Child said, “If you’re going to have a fear of failure, you’re just never going to learn how to cook. Because cooking is lots of it — one failure after another. And that’s how you finally learn.”

That’s true for most things.

Trust the process.

A friend was transitioning to a newly designed process at work that would make her job easier.

She had trouble adjusting to the new process. When she tried applying the newfound principles she freaked out. She wanted to revert back to her old way of doing things, but that wasn’t an option.

As difficult as it was, she had to trust the process, to work through it, make mistakes, learn from her mistakes, make adjustments, and then do it again.

It took a major mental shift for her to stick with it, to not give up and trust the process.

Be patient.

Remember, failure’s part of the process.

Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Don’t let fear of failure keep you from trying.

Even when it feels like you’re getting nowhere, trust the process and keep moving forward. It’s the only way you’ll ever get on track to reach your goals.

You can do it!

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Find a process that’s a good fit for you then take action

Have you ever felt like you were fumbling along just trying to figure things out and hoping for the best? Like you don’t know what the heck you’re doing. Parenting is a lot like that, or taking a leap of faith without a net.

In a previous blogpost, What to do when you feel stuck in the weeds I covered some tips to help get you through those times when you feel unfocused, overwhelmed, or unsure you’re on the right track.

That’s what I call being in the weeds. The tips:

  1. Stay flexible
  2. Connect with people who’ve been where you are
  3. Find a process that works for you
  4. Trust the process

If you missed the post about being flexible, click hereOr the 2nd post about connecting with people who’ve been where you are, click here.

Getting input from others is great, but there comes a time when you have to decide for yourself your plan of action. Ask yourself: What do you want, what will you do, and how will you do it? You have to decide come up with a plan of action.

But how do you decide?

If you ask five different people how to do something – write a book, lose weight, get in shape, plan a trip, find a new job – you’re bound to get five different answers. Some writers outline every scene before writing a single word. Others start writing with a simple idea. Do your research to help you find a process that works for you.

Do your research to help you find a process that might work for you.

One of the things I did when I started writing my novel and had committed to writing my novel was to look for people who had successfully navigated through the shaky period of getting started, who had been where I was. I wanted to learn from their experience. (See previous blogpost on Connecting with people who’ve been where you are

You know it’s possible, but it’s hard to know what that would look like if you’ve never done it.

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Consider your starting point

If you want to start running but you have no idea what to do, you’ll need to find a program that starts with the basics. Or if you know you’ll have to start with walk-run intervals, find a training program that starts there.

Know yourself

Are you the type of person who learns by watching? A video might be the best resource for you. Do you prefer having a reference guide? Look for a book that gives you a step-by-step to follow.

If you’re the type of person who gets overwhelmed by lots of detailed and technical information, look for resources that seem to understand you want to incorporate this new thing (running, cooking, writing, etc.)

Maybe you like a more personalized approach. Look for a personal trainer or coach who can give you 1-1 attention and hold you accountable.

Tailor the process

In the training scenario, if you mix running days with cross-training days because otherwise you get bored and will nix the whole thing, then mix it up.

Or let’s say you’re getting tips from a friend about how to de-clutter your home. Some particular things she recommends or would day a particular way may not work for you because of circumstances, resources, tools, etc.

Adjust her recommendations to fit your needs instead of making excuses and saying, “Oh no. That’ll never work.”

There’s rarely a cookie cutter solution that works for everyone.

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Adjust accordingly

Be open to making adjustments if what you planned isn’t working like you thought it would. Remember that a little flexibility goes a long way. Stick with it and don’t give up.

When I say process, it really means the way you approach a task. It doesn’t happen all at once. We have to be patient and take it a little at a time. A baby doesn’t normally run before he can walk.

If we want to get stuff done it helps to be open to being patient, learning all we can, following the steps, and adjusting accordingly.

That’s the key to finding a process that works for you and that’ll help you stay on your path to success.