Saturday, January 29, 2011

La Dolce far Niente...

...that's Italian for the "the sweetness of doing nothing". And boy, do they have that right! I am beginning to feel some of these European countries really have their priorities sorted out. I mean, the Italians have a phrase like this which pretty much advocates laziness, the Spaniards have their 'siesta' or afternoon nap - another beautiful concept. After yet another hard week's work, I feel sweet idleness is the true road to nirvana.

I mean, seriously, why is doing nothing so bad? Is it because the work ethic is so deeply instilled in us that to do nothing is seen as defeatist? Why do we push ourselves so much, constantly striving to reach who knows what - more money, a bigger house, a better car. And we slot our pockets of relaxation - one Sunday a week, one week off every six months or so. And even then there's this pressure to "do" something, "go" somewhere.

The more I think about all this, the more I find myself wondering what is the point of all this rush - waking up in the morning as soon as possible, rushing through breakfast, spending 11 stressful hours at work running between meetings, briefings, mails, desperately trying to finish a piece of work in the vain hope that it will give you some time to breathe, hurrying back home because its late, rushing through dinner and then trying to squeeze in some quality time with family before collapsing into dreamless sleep. Then there are vacations which have to be planned, social networking to be conducted, keeping oneself up-to-date with the latest news and views. And we do this day after day. No wonder we often wonder where the day, the week, the year disappeared.

Why this tearing hurry which leads nowhere, like running on a treadmill of activity? All we are doing really is sprinting through life, just hurtling towards the eternal end. What we really need, what I really need is to just Stop and Take a deep breath. Spread my time for "Niente" through the day rather than just once a year. Cut down on all the fevered activity and consequently cut down on a lot of stress. It is time to take control of our lives, to realize that the present is what we need to enjoy. The past is done with and the future may never be ours. If you are not at peace with yourself and able to savour your own company, then all the activity in the world cannot help you.

Peace is not to be found in travel to exotic lands or in going to the poshest clubs. Even something as simple as sitting beside your window looking out at the rain can be peaceful or watching your baby sleep or realizing how each petal of a flower is a work of art or looking at the shapes the clouds make in the blue sky... So to adapt a popular tagline, 'doing nothing IS possible'. I just hope one day I can achieve this. Best of luck to me and to you! :)


  1. It's good to get existential every once in a while :)

  2. I left my job to rediscover my me-time. But not everybody can do that.

    Yes, it feels good sitting next to the window with a mug of coffee, watching the rain fall in smile at nothing in particular...

    We need to unshackle ourselves from the rat race. Even if we win it, we are still a rat.