I’m accustomed to eating like an American, which means tossing a few chicken breasts into my InstantPot, adding some water and seasonings, pressing a button, and blammo, dinner is ready. Quick ’n easy. Shake ’n bake. Rock ’n roll. Efficiency to the max.
But is that actually a great thing?
Lately, I’ve been questioning this.
On my recent trip to Barcelona, I was struck—once again—by the differences between American and European cultures.
In Spain, dinner is an experience… a journey… an odyssey. The goal is not efficiency. The goal is to make memories.
You sit down with your companions. There’s wine, bread, aged Iberian Ham, a bowl of olives, and at least an hour of conversation. And that’s before your actual meal even begins to arrive. Things happen sloooooowly. From start to finish, a Spanish dinner might take three or four hours. And that’s not a special occasion dinner. That’s just… Tuesday.
There’s an interesting phenomenon that happens when Americans go out for a meal in Spain. Many of us get uneasy. We start peeking at our phones wondering, “What time is it? How long is this going to take?” We flag down the servers to ask, “Could we speed things along a little bit? We’ve actually got an appointment later, so…” (That impatient American has totally been me, in the past!).
It’s almost as if we’ve forgotten how to relax. We’re in such a hurry to get on with it—to eat quickly, to leave quickly, to dash along to… what, exactly? To rush back to our hotel room so we can post our food photos on Instagram and prove what a fabulous time we’ve been having? Why are we hurrying? Where are we trying to be?
I had a conversation with a Spanish woman recently, and we talked about this phenomenon. She told me, “In Spain, we don’t rush. We don’t drink to get drunk. We don’t eat to get stuffed. We want to enjoy and savor the moment. What’s the rush?”
Exactly. What’s the rush?
This is the question I’m asking myself right now, especially as I wrap up an exceptionally busy year. This year, I spent 85 days on the road—about 12 weeks of the year—traveling to teach, lead retreats, and speak on various stages. I launched several new programs. I churned out podcasts, blog posts, newsletters, and webinars, week after week.
I love my life, and I love my work, and at the same time, I am wondering… What’s the rush? Maybe it’s time to slow down to a European pace. To savor more and rush less.
“How we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives.” —Anne Dillard
How will you spend today?
I hope you’ll spend it doing something that brings you joy. Something that makes you feel alive.
And when you feel your American pulse accelerating—when you begin to feel impatient, when you notice yourself reaching for your phone to see what time it is, and who has re-tweeted your last tweet, and how many emails remain to be answered, and whether so-and-so replied to your text, and whether it’s time to move along to the next entry on your calendar—I hope you’ll pause long enough to ask yourself:
What’s the rush?
PS. If you are so busy that you have forgotten to take care of yourself and that glorious god pod, get yourself on the first to know list about BARE DAILY. Doors will open on November 1st and I’d love to see you inside!