As I'm sitting here on the beach in Portugal it inspired me to write a post on the way of life in Europe. Of course, when on vacation in another country you can always feel the glorious way of life; assuming you can sit on a beach all day!
I don't want to speak about sitting on a beach and making money in your sleep, I'm speaking about actual living in Portugal. How a local lives their life. You see, I am blessed to reside in an authentic Portuguese town, with people who LIVE. I am blessed to sit in their kitchens, cafes and beaches and really learn about the culture.
Each year I come here, I learn something new but this time I really observed and this is what I noticed:
They make plans to meet people and then they don't just make plans to meet people
Sure, you invite friends over and make dinner plans but then other family or friends just stop by and the whole gang sits and eats, drinks and laughs. At lunch on the weekends or after dinner during the week, everyone meets each other; meeting up at the cafe or stopping by each other's houses. At anytime, you know you are welcome. I love this way of living. I love not having to book time in to see family or friends because they are booked "weekends" in advance. You show up and if they are there, you hang. I know that I love this as it has that laid back attitude. I also love that time is spent talking, interacting, sharing opinions and away from that "Netflix and chill" life for which I have settled.
Family take care of each other
Grandparents help with the kids, kids have parents over for dinner, lots of weekday dinners together, elderly parents live with their families as long as physically possible. Parents and children hang out with each other's friends. It's one big love fest mash up of fun!
They help their neighbours
My daughter and I were walking down to the beach one morning and an elderly woman stopped and asked if we needed a ride down to the beach (this happens often). They watch and take care of each other.
They work and there is balance
Spending time together as a family of key. In smaller towns, siesta is still a thing. I asked if it was the same in Lisbon. I was told, yes, but it's not exactly the same. They do get longer lunches and there is time for rest (which I assume leads to a more productive work force) but it's not like in town; where shops close for 2 hours. This also means they don't finish work until 7 p.m. but with family right around the corner, helping with meals and kids, life appears lighter!
In addition, most places get one month off in August to enjoy the summer or you start with one month's worth of vacation to take.
What have I learned from my observations:
1) Stop planning life
2) If I'm home, invite your friends and family into my home anytime. Spending time with people instead of in front of boob tube is likely a better spenditure of my time.
3) There is nothing wrong with needing a rest in the middle of the day!
4) Take time off
5) Be easier with life
6) Laugh more
7) Spend time with family
8) Worry less about what you are doing, eating, drinking, being and enjoy EVERY moment and just BE!