Six life lessons I learned from the Spanish

2011 December 15
by Janelle

Parque del RetiroThe Spanish seem to have it all figured out: Devastatingly gorgeous, incomparably stylish, and quietly cool creative visionaries with excellent food, wine, public parks, and footwear. If there were any way Ryan and I could make a decent living by moving to Spain, we’d do so in a heartbeat. For now, we’ll just have to daydream about the next time we can head back for a visit.

During the two weeks we spent there, we traveled to Barcelona, Granada, Nerja, Seville, Jerez de la Frontera, and Madrid. Each part of the country had a distinctly different flavor and feel; no matter where we were, we couldn’t help but feel like there were enormous life-lessons to be learned by the Spanish way of life.

Kiss in public. How can holding back on passion be good for anyone? If you love someone, allow yourself to overflow with it. More often than not, you’re not holding back for yourself; you’re holding back for fear of being judged by someone who is probably too bitter to score a date anyway. Those who are open to love like to see love displayed fearlessly, and those who don’t could learn a thing or two.

Nap with reckless abandon. Oh, the siesta. I fully believe that if we took more naps, fewer of us would need hardcore therapy, and anti-anxiety meds would be rendered obsolete. Cuddling up with someone you love increases the benefits.

Put away the wristwatch. True, the Spanish may take their blatant disregard for punctuality a bit far but, in truth, we Americans try to cram too much into a 24-hour period. We may fool ourselves into thinking we’re living life to the fullest, but when you never stop rushing as you go from point A to point Z (and everything in between), you’re not living life, you’re skimming through it.

Take snacking to an art form. Snacks aren’t meant to be peeled out of foil wrappers; they’re meant to be savored with wine and conversation. And whomever gave the advice not to eat between meals is a total killjoy who has no friends.

Sing and dance out loud. One of our best nights in Spain was when we stumbled upon a tiny cantina, where the owner got together nightly with her daughters and old friends and sang out traditional Spanish folk songs for patrons. Keeping it to yourself is selfish. Songs and smiles should always be shared.

Share the wealth. I’ve never met such generous and giving people as the Spanish. They are so proud of what they have that they can’t help but share it. Stingy folks can keep to themselves, but those who spread the joy are destined to receive it tenfold. It’s like this awesome tsunami of wonderfulness. And in Spain it usually contained a slab of jamon, a slice of manchego, and a glass of homemade wine. I’m sure your own spin on it will reap equally joyful results.

More photos from our trip here, in Ryan’s Flickr stream.

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One Response leave one →
  1. December 16, 2011

    Interesting thoughts! Now if we could just figure out how to have what the Spanish have except for the 20% unemployment and huge piles of debt. There’s got to be a halfway out there somewhere!

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