Sfortunato, Italian for ‘unlucky’.
What makes you unhappy? And why? Lastly, is it in your control?
It could be raining on your wedding day, damn it. No blue skies in your photos, end of the world? That’s the risk of getting married in Melbourne any time of year, the most inconsistent forecast in Aus.
Maybe you can’t quite afford the latest iPhone, or that new Too Faced palette *drools* or even worse maybe your local Mecca is out of stock… How dare they.
Next time something is making you unhappy or you are feeling sfortunato, stop and reevaluate. Why exactly am I upset about this, how much does it really matter right now, let alone next month and is it in your control?
Something I am always reminding my brides is that at the end of the day you are still getting married rain hail or shine, although a few location adjustments may need to be made. Nothing as insignificant as that should ruin your big day when marrying the love of your life (hopefully the love overshadows the clouds). You may not be able to afford that Too Faced glitter palette right now, but maybe your birthday is approaching or you probably already have all of the other various Mecca palettes and it probably isn’t a necessity right now.
If it is out of your control, why fret? Shit happens and life does go on, believe it or not.
Firstly… Practicing Gratuity
It can be so simple but so forgotten. I have started practicing this as religiously as brushing my teeth or any other daily routine. Whenever I think of something sfortunato I find myself listing these reasons in detail in my head, shifting my mood to a full 360 and enabling me to SMILE MORE!
Here are my top 5 reasons to be grateful every day:
5. Education – If you’re able to read this, you already have someone to thank.
I have recently found a passion for simply reading and writing. It occurred to me that some people do not even have the privilege of being educated in doing just that, let alone the further education I have received and also have access to. Opportunities are endless for many of us based on our education, yet some still take it for granted with the ‘I hate school’ attitude, admittedly being guilty of that in the past myself. Imagine where you would be if you didn’t even have the option of setting foot in a school? Let alone having the freedom to choose subjects, choose your degree, or even your career path? Education has the ability to assist us in not only finding but pursuing our passions whatever they may be. Whether it be passionate about a career, becoming a parent, playing an instrument or playing a sport we are so lucky to have those things in life that really excite us and bring us daily joy. I am so grateful for my education enabling me to read such amazing books and to have the ability to write these blogs which I am so passionate about. (Teaser: book review blog coming soon!) Education comes in many ways, formally which was either initially chosen by your parents as a child and continued when studying as an adult, or simply and most importantly through experience…
4. Experience – Realizing life itself is a gift, everybody dies but not everybody lives.
Every single experience, from working, volunteering, swimming with sharks or simply having meaningful or meaningless conversations with others result in learning. Your past helps define you today, as you wouldn’t be who you are without those moments both good and bad. I am grateful for my struggles or stress, drama and suffering. These experiences have helped me to now really appreciate the important and beneficial things in everyday life. You can learn so much from others if you take the time to genuinely listen to what they have to offer you and better yet, learning about what you too can offer them. Always seek the positives in negative situations and why not take a risk and do something different? You never know what will come from you putting yourself out there with a new experience. Being grateful for my past and present experiences helps me live my absolute best life each day, having no regrets and making the most of what I do have rather than focusing on what may be sfortunato.
3. Health – Smile while you still have teeth
I am so grateful for my health and especially my ability to exercise. I have shocking ankles after years of basketball rolls (now its drunk dancing rolls) leaving me with almost permanent cankles. It is easy for me to complain about this, which I have done of course during swollen, purple & yellow bruised, limping phases and even the precautionary phases where my choice of outfit is based around the height of my heels. Let’s start by saying, 6 weeks recovery? A struggle and missing F45 of course, but could always be worse… People can be out of exercise for months or years because of injury, or perhaps not even have the ability at all, from birth. No matter where you stand physically, chances are there is always a worse off situation than your own and you just need to put things in perspective and search for the positives in your own life.
2. Friends – Quality not quantity
I am grateful for the positive influential people in my life, it doesn’t matter if I have known you for 10 years or 10 months. It doesn’t matter how we met or how often we see each other, the genuine friends will always be there for you when you need them and not because they have to be, because they want to be. I honestly don’t waste my valuable time on people who are unworthy. This isn’t saying my time is more valuable than anyone else’s, all of our time is of value and I find it nothing but wasteful ticking away in toxic or negative environments. I would rather put my efforts into two way relationships, where we both benefit from spending time together and appreciate each other, genuinely. Don’t be afraid to let go of certain people or groups that make you constantly feel down. The people you surround yourself with define who you were, who you are today and who you will become, so choose wisely.
- Family – The friends you cannot, but do choose.
I am so lucky to have grown up with such a large support network under one roof. I am even luckier now watching my siblings create wonderful families under the roofs of their own. My nieces & nephews hold a place in my heart like no other and have also strengthened my relationships with my siblings and their partners.
It was a massive realisation reaching a level of maturity where I can truly appreciate my whole family and all they have done for me over my lifetime. It was busy growing up in a house of 8 with my first brother moving out when I was only 11 and still not having my own room until I was 18. Once again even a small privilege some may take for granted.
3 days ago I lost my Nonno, feeling more grateful than ever for having him in my life for almost 24 years, a privilege many people do not have with a grandparent or sometimes even with a parent. He lived an amazing 88 years, married to my Nonna for 64, having 3 children, 11 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. Teaching us all the importance of family, encouraging us to learn a language, see the world and chase our dreams. He is now finally at peace and although I feel empty without him here and will miss him dearly, I consider myself extremely lucky for having him in my life for so long.
My Nonno, I thank you for giving me your strength, a priceless gift I will carry with me forever. Stronger than a rock, I cannot be more grateful for the little bit of Ventosa I have within me. The love you shared to create and form our cherished family, who will now support each other just as you supported us. I will miss watching your jaw drop as I enter the room, smiling peacefully while watching the D’Aprano Empire you have created, a name carried with pride and love. A smile that will not only never be forgotten but that I will share with others on my own face every day as you did.
Gratuity is everywhere all around you no matter what your situation is, you just need to make the decision to always find it. Reminding yourself every day to search for those positives in life can help change your mindset and increase overall happiness (and smiles, smiles everywhere!) Write it down and encourage others to do the same. Smiling is contagious and a domino effect is always guaranteed. Although my Nonno was non responsive in his final hours, I still made sure I smiled while I thanked him for all he did while looking after us. I told him it was because of him that we would all be okay. When you are grateful for someone in particular, tell them. Keeping gratuity to yourself is not beneficial for anyone, you don’t ever want to have regrets or words unsaid. No need to wait for that special occasion to write that ‘meaningful’ Facebook post or even better and rare these days, write them a god dam card.
So, ‘Sfortunato’? Only if you allow yourself to think you are.
Love the forever smiling Emdee xx
In loving memory of my one & only Nonno, the man who helped define who I am today and who I will become.