This past weekend while having dinner with our Italian friends, I mentioned to Francesco that I miss ‘il dolce far niente’, a concept that here in the U.S. could be hard to embrace. Il dolce far niente translates ‘the beauty of doing nothing’. After living in both countries Italy and U.S., I can see why in America this concept can really stress out individuals. We live in a society where the concept of relaxing too much is often translated by not accomplishing enough. In other words we feel guilty when we don’t accomplish. Everything happens fast, people often do things to check them off the list and so on. Going back to Italians, don’t get me wrong, they are hard workers , but they know when is time to step back and relax and they do it like pros. Ever since I moved from Europe I noticed that the concept of accomplishment have followed me in pretty much every thing I did: being a parent, a photographer, etc but slowly I forgot about ‘il dolce far niente’. I found myself being ready for my days off to slow down, but then last minute I would add something on my list. Not sure exactly what happened, but I am in a better place now. I feel good when I slow down.
If you asked me this is what ‘dolce far niente’ means : to simply sit back and relax, enjoy simple moments of life, read a magazine in your pjs, watch two movies in a row, open the window and feel the breeze, have a five course meal dinner without feeling guilty about gaining weight, taking a long walk, get off social media, put some music and dance, hang out with friends and be present in the moment. So, this weekend I challenge you to step back and relax and most of all don’t feel guilty about it.
The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work, the final accomplishment for which you are most highly congratulated. The more exquisitely and delightfully you can do nothing, the higher your life’s achievement.. . Anyone with a talent for happiness can do this, not only the rich.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love