April 10, 2022
What is an aperitivo? It’s more than a drink, really. It’s defined as a cultural experience in Italy to transition from our labors to leisure; taking us from work to dinner and home time, celebrated by a drink and a snack, usually with others, amidst an enjoyable environment.
Over the years I’ve had the good fortune to experience this ritual first hand in a variety of places, from Roman side streets (featured above) and Tuscan hillsides to Florentine and seaside Sardinian piazzas. These moments have punctuated my psyche as ideal living, where time slows down for us to relax and enjoy the moment.
In our current working world – at least in America – the pandemic forced work into home and blurred the lines between the two. Don’t get me wrong, I do love working from home and would be sad to have it any other way. But the pace and pressure has picked up tremendously. Italy, along with many parts of Europe, has always maintained a slower pace of life that is so refreshing to the ongoing normal.
I love how the word ‘aperitivo’ originates from the Latin aperire, meaning ‘open up.’ In the case of the aperitivo, we’re talking about ‘opening up’ the stomach ahead of a delightful meal to end the day. But so many wonderful things happen when we open up…
There can be pros and cons to many of the above. But I believe it’s safe to say that when things open up, by definition they are more present, available or accessible.
I’ve been thinking a lot about finding purpose. I think you can have more than one; one of mine is undoubtedly to be my daughter’s mother. But as for the purpose of my own self-expression (or work) I’ve always struggled a bit, though maybe inching closer as I get older. Like, I’ve begun to realize that it’s got to be tied to your core values (and so I worked to define them).
That’s what The Aperitivo Project is about for me: a place to be more present for things and circumstances that center on my core values of joy, beauty, ethicality, and serenity. I used a specific process to define these values (which I hope to share in the future) and doing so centers on how you want to feel vs. what you want to do or be.
I’ve also been thinking and missing something about my younger self. Not missing being naive, wistful over unmet longings, restricted by budget (though it still factors), etc. But missing the freedom and fun I had planning, experimenting and enjoying moments entertaining with friends, experiencing food, creatively decorating my home with a budding sense of style, and exploring my passions and interests. As we’re years into full-blown adulthood there’s tremendous pressure and obligations. The sheer volume of those things – especially when balancing a demanding career – seem to squeeze out space to connect with ourselves and enjoy the moment. Here, I want to make space for this and reconnect with myself through the home, creating a sense of ambiance, food, entertaining, leisure, and maybe a little soul searching along the way.
Starting this blog in such difficult times (war and strife at home and abroad, worldwide pandemics, inequality and financial struggles for many, and so much more) initially felt silly and self-indulgent. But then I received a newsletter from blogger Jess Kirby that put things into perspective. She shared some learnings that it’s okay to access joy amidst struggle without holding guilt or insecurity. Doing so can actually fuel us to face the struggles life presents us.
Perhaps it’s a stretch to take this ‘aperitivo’ notion from happy hour to transformative life experiences. But for now, I plan to try and balance my chakras, then make a negroni.
Images are my own:
Tonnarello, Ristorante a Trastevere, Rome, 2016. Carciofo alla Giudia (crispy Roman artichoke), pizza and an aperol spritz