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The Sweetness of Doing Nothing

I took two years of Italian in university. My professor was a charming and funny man named Luca who was straight out of the book Italian. Our class was 12 students small and for three hours each week we sat around a large table conversing in Italian. He would often tell us stories about life in Italy and when I mentioned I would be going there in the summer, he clapped his hands together and exclaimed, “Ah, Christina, è una bella vita.” It’s a beautiful life.
 
It was a beautiful life indeed. Like any big city, there was a busyness in the air but one that was noticeably different from Toronto. People were going places but they walk with a pace of “I’ll get there when I get there”. Lunch isn’t a one hour I’m-on-the-clock affair but a drawn out dining experience. Going to a coffee shop meant relaxing with a beverage and watching the world go by, not staring into a laptop with headphones on. A Monday felt like a Sunday and things felt like it was slowing down.
 
I came to learn there’s a saying in Italian, “La Dolce Far Niente”, that literally translates to “the sweetness of doing nothing”. Not in the “I did nothing all weekend except eat pizza and watch Netflix” sense but to live life in a slower, more simplistic way. This clip from Eat Pray Love beautifully illustrates the idea: 


 
My life can sometimes feel like an endless list of to-do’s and appointments to meet. Squeezing in phone calls to mom in between a workout and meeting a friend for drinks. It’s just one thing after another. It’s also exhausting.
 
Life isn’t a ticking time bomb.
 
Starting today, I’m going to practice more “Dolce Far Niente” by disconnecting myself more from technology and spending my energy on things that either rejuvenates me or inspires me. This includes:
 
– Taking a cat nap before dinner
– Saying no to invites even when I’m not busy
– No mindless TV watching
– Not reaching for my phone when I’m idling
– Catching up with a friend in person and not through texts or Facebook messages
– Enjoy a meal without anything to read or do
– Lay on my yoga mat in complete silence and do nothing for more than 15 minutes
– Make dinner to jazz music
– Take a day off work to do all of the above
 
I think we all would like to live a more simple, stress-free life so I invite you to practice “Dolce Far Niente” with me.
 
How are you planning to do more of nothing?

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10 Comments

  • Reply Alyssa @ GenerationYRA November 3, 2015 at 9:45 am

    This is such a wonderful plan!! The other day I read an interesting take on how you should “Make Vacation Your Home.” It’s the same theme – we live too many days trying to make it to the next vacation (to ‘relax’), when we should be making our home our continuous vacation. By participating in such disconnect, you are surely going to create that for yourself! I’ve started to meditate (I’m not very good at it), but really taking a few minutes a day to just focus on my breathing and nothing else. I also have started to write a gratitude journal, where every evening my fiance & I come up with a list of 5 things we are grateful for. It’s subtle changes like that which truly start making a difference!

    • Reply Christine November 3, 2015 at 10:02 am

      That’s a great way to look at it! Home should be your haven and if you can’t relax there, where can you? I’m terrible at meditating (I always fall asleep heh) but it comes with practice. Love your gratitude journal idea – we focus too much on what we don’t have instead of on what we do have. I’ll have to suggest that with Andrew 🙂
      Christine recently posted…The Sweetness of Doing NothingMy Profile

  • Reply Courtney @ High Class in Borrowed Shoes November 3, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    Great post Christine! I instantly thought of Eat Pray Love when I read “dolce far niente”. I don’t think we can be reminded enough to be “present” in a life full of emails, texts, and everything else. Life moves so fast, our concept of the present really diminishes, which is why real social contact and “unplugging” is more important than ever. Over a year ago I started turning off my phone and not using the internet for one day a week, and I honestly haven’t looked back since.
    Courtney @ High Class in Borrowed Shoes recently posted…Saving for Florida: Retirement Planning with DebtMy Profile

    • Reply Christine November 4, 2015 at 10:18 am

      Thanks Courtney! Unplugging one day a week is a great idea. Life isn’t an emergency and you don’t need to be oncall 24/7!

  • Reply Chris Muller November 3, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    Ahhh! This is so inspiring! I was JUST thinking about simplicity recently. We live in this world filled with so many distractions, and our culture promotes it even more. I love what you’ve talked about here – we all should take note. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the ‘rat race’ and forget how to just enjoy the life that’s given to us. We take WAY too much for granted. One thing my wife and I love doing is going to Southern Ohio (out in the middle of nowhere, but it’s beautiful) and renting a cabin for the weekend. There’s literally no cell service, no bustling city sounds, and not a lot of people. We can sit on the patio of a remote cabin in the morning, sip coffee, and just look at nature. It’s so peaceful and relaxing. A couple of trips like that each year can really keep us fresh and not burned out from work. Great post Christine 🙂
    Chris Muller recently posted…5 Ways That Money Buys Happiness (Sort Of)My Profile

    • Reply Christine November 4, 2015 at 10:24 am

      Thanks so much Chris! Your cabin getaway sounds amazing…I might have to look into doing something similar 🙂 That’s also a good point to make though – we give ourselves the chance to unplug like it’s some sort of gift we’ve earned from all those months/years of working. You don’t need a vacation to unplug, you can do it whenever you want! I like Courtney’s idea to unplug one day a week. Chances are you won’t have missed out on much at all 🙂

  • Reply Bharat Sharma November 4, 2015 at 1:54 am

    Hi Christine,

    What you have described is something we all wish to experience but hardly experience because of so called busyness and ticking time bomb of life. Life is an event to enjoy by slowing down a little but we are just running and are spending our life but not living it. You are really lucky to enjoy life in such way.
    Bharat Sharma recently posted…33 Major Health & Beauty Benefits of MangoMy Profile

    • Reply Christine November 4, 2015 at 10:31 am

      I don’t look at it as being lucky – it’s really about changing your mindset which of course takes time and practice. I’m attempting to disconnect myself but it hasn’t been easy either. Yesterday I caught myself watching a show I’ve never even seen before just out of the habit of coming home and turning the TV on. Take it in steps and you’ll slowly start to build new habits.
      Christine recently posted…The Sweetness of Doing NothingMy Profile

      • Reply Bharat Sharma November 7, 2015 at 6:25 am

        You are right. It all depends on mindset and how we are looking at things and from what angle. Fitting into new habits can sometimes be challenging and takes time but we have to adjust ( even we don’t want to. I’ll still consider it lucky
        Bharat Sharma recently posted…38 Surprising Health And Beauty Benefits of BananaMy Profile

        • Reply Nazmul hasan November 16, 2016 at 7:58 am

          Hi Christine,
          Fantastic plan 😛 . You are very lucky to enjoy life in such this way.

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