Perceptions of Pressure

IMG_0263While in Verona and Venice over the weekend (casual), I realized many conversations I was having continued to circle back to the future.

Families, internships, bridal parties, full-time jobs, changing careers and so on.

Hopefully not in that order.

While this remains a common topic of conversation for all twenty somethings with college graduation on the horizon, being surrounded by the Dolce Vita creates a different perspective.

While in Venice, we visited Murano and watched a glass-blowing tutorial and created jewelry with glass beads. The most interesting part of this was hearing the history behind the man creating beautiful vases, pitchers, animals and more.

He had been practicing glass blowing since he was 12 or 13, which is the norm for the profession. It’s not something that requires a college degree and is rarely a first generation pursuit.

IMG_0278The men are trained by their elders and perfect the skill as they age.

And by the men, I don’t mean the over-arching term for people. When asked if there are any female glass-blowers, the man responded, “No, women can’t do it. They aren’t strong enough.”

Hm. Keeping in mind the differences between cultures and traditions, we’ll skip the feminist rant for now.

However generalized, his words are still powerful.

Without attempting to, he provided a snapshot of the Italian workforce. Careers tend to be decided by family tradition- who you know isn’t a plus, it’s everything.

Even though we may be lost and confused, pressured about what’s to come next, we at least all have a choice regarding what career we are pursuing. For the most part, family professions and more importantly, gender, won’t dictate what paths we take. We also don’t need to make decisions in fear of the alarmingly high unemployment rate awaiting the other side of failed endeavors. Although it might not feel like it, we have the wiggle room to take chances.

Recently, I fell in love with the wise words of Julius Caesar that state, “As a rule, men worry more about what they can’t see than what they can.”

We become so obsessed with the future, the unknown, that we forget to make the most of the ephemeral present. Maybe that was the pure intention behind the god awful #YOLO movement, but I think it goes past any cliche saying.

Everything becomes a search for something that already exists, rather than a quest to create new opportunities. We take pictures without knowing the captions, replace but never attempt to fix, and Google before we test our memories.

Worrying about what’s around the corner, we forget to take in everything that is in front of us now. Classes seem pointless as we await real jobs, yet the homework we avoid and the lectures skipped may be what provides the upper hand one day.

While tradition can be associated with old-fashioned, Italian’s appreciation for the classic and pure methods of all things- from food to textiles to glass blowing- is something to be admired. Whether it’s because of their secure future in the family business or acceptance of the mammoni life, they’re able to wait patiently for the future; while they enjoy and truly learn from the present.

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