These are the wise words straight from my Nonna’s mouth. Actually, now that I think about it, they are also my moms – not to mention the many other friends who have proclaimed this long-standing advice to me in the past.
Yesterday morning I went over to my Nonna’s, and along with amazing coffee and food I heard the story of her life… along with the regular words of wisdom that she often throws around. My Nonna married for love, but it was part of her world. Having grown up in a small Italian town St. Clemente, outside of the city Caserta, there wasn’t much else going for her.
St. Clemente was – still is – small. Everyone knew each other, and their neighbouring families, so it was my Nonno who picked her. That’s right. He hand selected her to be his wife.
They have been married since their twenties, and are now heading into their 80s. Coming from practically nothing – amidst their move to Canada – they did well for themselves. With three daughters, and working for the TTC, my Nonno now has a house down the street from us – a 4 minute walk, if that – and has a beautiful cottage in Orillia, Ontario that our families often vacation at.
Even though both Nonno and Nonna wished that they could return to Italy after my mom had reached age 6 – with Anna age 4, and Connie age 2 – it was no longer possible. My Nonno returned on his own for a month and tried to find work, but nothing was available in such a short time.
They had left a home with the hope of finding a good job in Canada, where the rest of the Malatesta family (Nonna’s brothers and sisters) had already immigrated to. Despite my Nonno feeling like he needed to return “home” to his family – they just couldn’t. It is from that story that my Nonna continues on to share her life wisdoms with me.
Nonna on repeat, and a girls guide to happiness:
1. “Live day by day.”
I understand where she is coming from. I do. It is a lot easier to live one day at a time, and it leads to less stress. When it comes to large decisions it helps you to really hone in on what you actually want versus what the outcomes may be, which leads to over thinking. I’m working on incorporating this into my life on a daily basis.
2. “Love is when you are blind Daniela, and you can’t see what’s in front of you.”
I too know that when you’re in love you tend to be blind sighted towards that persons flaws, and it’s something that is unavoidable. When it comes to my girlfriends problems with men – YES MEN we are at that age where it isn’t boys anymore – and I try to be both patient and kind when listening, consoling, or giving advice. When you really love someone it is difficult to see the negatives.
However, when you are in this type of mindset, I believe you’re experiencing puppy-love or infatuation (neither being real). I think real love is when you grow to accept someone’s flaws, and you love them anyways without trying to change them – because you can’t. Ultimately, this leads to a healthier relationship.
Nonna also says that she doesn’t believe in love anymore, and it’s basically just getting along. I like to think that there is someone who is better suited or equipped at ‘handling’ me, but you can be compatible with more than one person. Maybe that’s just it. It is possible – that ultimately – you fall in love with and marry someone who gets along with you the best.
In a sense my Nonna means accepting that person for ‘better or for worse’ because in the end no matter how much they piss you off… you can’t help but still want to be around them.
3. “Marry Rich.”
Here’s a good one. As i said, this hasn’t just come from the lips of my Nonna. It seems the older I get, marrying for someones wealth is a better idea than love, or it’s just being said more often.
All joking aside there are many different ways to define rich, and I think that rests on everyone’s individual opinion. To me being rich is when you reach a point in your life that you are able to do whatever you want to, and spend money comfortably without regret. Whether that’s travelling overseas, or buying that Marc by Marc Jacobs purse, you are able to spend money without needing to think about where else it would be better spend – more practically.
Obviously my father drilled it into my head early on by saying, “is that a NEED or a WANT?” This has haunted me my whole life. My metaphor for this is that you don’t need a large home. Every room should be lived in, and it is a place you continuously return to for comfort. Nobody needs that much space, or to spend money carelessly.
I believe in what Rosanne said while she was being interviewed by Oprah – something like – being happy is a state you can come down from, and it’s better to be content in life because it’s more consistent. So, as long as you have enough money to do the things you love, than you can be rich too.
Regardless of all this life advice, I am a hopeless romantic and will end up marrying for love despite what everyone says. As long as I can whisk off to Greece, or anywhere in Europe, with a small place in Toronto to call home – I’ll be more than content.