I first came across the concept of pleasant idleness in Italy, which is known worldwide as dolce far niente. It is a concept that speaks to the beat of my latin american and asian soul, but goes against the very grain of everything German. The sweet art of doing nothing. It sounds easy, but in truth, to truly engage in idleness and not doing anything productive requires supreme effort. The phrase was resurrected and popularised in recent popular culture by Elizabeth Gildbert’s book Eat, Pray, Love and the movie based on the book staring Julia Roberts. This is a lifestyle normally associated with artists contemplating life and how to interpret it onto a canvas (or lens ) while savouring a glass (bottle?) of wine or coffee. Translation: completely disconnect from the demands of the world and surrender to the quiet
This weekend I did just that. In spite of having every intention of going out to explore, when I got up on Saturday and made breakfast, I had a conversation with both my mind and body, and we decided that it was the perfect dolce far niente day. I have a gazillion things on my to-do list but my need to rest was greater, as so many things seemed to be catching up with me all at the same time. Curious, I checked whether there was a Portuguese equivalent, this being Europe and all. Much to my delight, there is and is almost identical to its spanish equivalent: ociosidade despreocupada.
So it was a weekend of watching clouds float by while reading a book and listening to music. Sure, I cleaned up my room and did the laundry, but these were all short and relaxing activities that made me feel at home. That’s what I am craving for – a place to finally settlle down and unpack my suitcases for good, and not continue living out of them. I shouldn’t whine, I know, because based on some of the stories I have heard recently, things could be worse. One day at a time.