Moving my legs as fast as they possibly can without breaking into a full on sprint, I’m thinking to myself, “I really wish I would have woken up ten minutes earlier.” If my wish would have been granted, I could have enjoyed a leisurely walk to CET Friday morning around 8:20 A.M. Instead, I chose to lie in bed a few extra minutes, like I do every day, causing a fifteen-minute mini workout at the end of my morning routine. This leads to Carolyn and I rushing across the bridge with CET in sight. We can see a few people outside the parked bus. I glance down at my phone to check the time, 8:29 A.M., perfect. Just then, we are surprised to hear the news that Anna Di Biase is caught in a snow storm and won’t be in Florence until 9:00 A.M. In light of the news, we all migrate to the high bar behind CET. While everyone’s wating, I hear a few people throw out the comment, “I wish I would have known we weren’t leaving until 9:00 because I could have slept a little longer.” I’m thinking the same thing until Anna Betz says, “…But wishing about the past is silly.”
This comment set a tone for the rest of the trip. Too often, I get caught up with everyone else’s attitudes and start complaining mindlessly just to avoid silence. “I wish I could have been there when Wisconsin beat Ohio in football. I wish I could would have gotten the fruity gelato instead of the chocolate.” And the list goes on. However, Anna is right because stewing about the past isn’t only useless, it also keeps you from the present. With this in mind, I set a goal to live only in the present during the weekend trip.
The first stop was Sant’Antimo Abbey, where there was a little snow (to my surprise) and a beautiful church. Looking around, I didn’t wish I was there when it was being built or brand new. Most of my amazement came from the fact that it still stands today and that I’m fortunate enough to visit it. Needless to say, it was very easy to keep in the moment. Later, we ventured to Montalcino and feasted on a never-ending lunch. After a few more stops, we arrived at the farmhouse where we would stay for the night. This was the part I was most looking forward to. Not only do I love being in the country and nature, I love anything with the word farm. Not once did I wish anything went any differently than it did. Well, that’s a bit of a lie. After eating another endless meal for dinner, I had wished I could have taken back all the food that entered my stomach that day.
Once we hiked and went to a cheese tasting on Saturday, we headed home to Florence to get a good nights rest before Carnivale in Viareggio. I didn’t know what Carnivale would exactly entail Sunday. To my surprise it made for the perfect summary of everything I’ve talked about thus far. The floats, people, costumes, dances, and confetti were all celebrating the present. All the Italians were living for the moment as they bounced up and down, threw handfuls of confetti right at my face, and sang at the top of their lungs. I am not proposing that everyone should be careless and forget the past and not plan for the future. I’m not saying reflecting on the past and learning from it is bad. But simply talking about the past with no intentions of changing or taking action is “silly”. Being fully immersed in the present will hopefully bring more happy moments like this weekend brought.
I was just introduced to this last weekend, and I thought it made for the perfect example of being caught up in the past.