January 26, 2018

Dolce Far Niente

Ah… to be a kid again; this photo of my much younger boys depicts the true essence of literally doing nothing.  So much fun; it was a gorgeous hot day; the remedy was to stay cool, so let’s put patio chairs on our heads and blast the sprinkler. So innovative!  Actually,  isn’t that what life’s about, taking moments like these, be it an hour, a day, or a few minutes, to experience some downtime?

The Italians have a lovely expression, dolce far niente, meaning the sweetness of doing nothing.  It doesn’t mean being lazy. It’s referring to the pleasure one gets from being idle or being in the moment. Sounds wonderful, but hard to do?  There never seem to be enough hours in the day. It’s time to leave the guilt, chores and to-do lists behind.

I know this seems foreign to most of us; it’s a lesson in letting go. Dolce far niente, which the Italians have fully embraced as part of their culture and in their daily routines. I think we can agree Italians know a few things about how to savour the moment.

Savouring the moment and doing nothing doesn’t necessarily mean sitting in a chair and staring at a wall unless that’s your thing. I hate to think of all those special moments I missed because I was too busy being busy, and then “poof,” you wonder where the time went.

I recently downsized from a house to a townhouse, and this was an exercise in letting go for sure.  I’m enjoying less is more. I guess I’ve always been a minimalist at heart, and it actually agrees with me.  Less stuff equals less clutter in my head. It also means more time for me to do or not do what I want. The weekends are my favourite part of the week, and I’m stating the obvious. I enjoy the freedom of not having any set plans, workouts, or having to rush out in the mornings. I could easily spend my day lounging in my pyjamas, sipping coffee and listening to music. It’s the best! This would be my dolce far niente moment. But how do I incorporate idle into my day-to-day life?

“The definition of insanity is, doing the exact same fucking thing over and over again, expecting shit to change. That. Is. Crazy.”
So change something, enjoy a walk at lunch instead of working at your desk, call a friend instead of texting, bake instead of buying, talk to your neighbours, take the dog for a walk in the opposite direction.  It’s not rocket science, just take the time for something that makes you happy or enjoyable once a day, whatever that is.  There are only so many hours in a day, and a few special moments, if you don’t stop and poke your head up every once in awhile, you’ll miss it.  And like the photo of my boys, which was a precious moment, I’m grateful that I stopped to hear the laughter outside, the camera capturing it perfectly.
“Dolce far niente,” meaning, the sweetness of doing nothing.
How sweet nothing can be…



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