Dolce Far Niente

The Sweetness of Doing Nothing

It’s true. Many Americans seem to think that they have to be doing something to have fun. Engaging in some form of physical activity is fun. Absolutely! The belief that if you’re not doing “fun” things a certain percentage of the time then you can’t be happy or fulfilled is rubbish, though.

Remember when Ferris called Cameron in Ferris Bueller’s Day off? After hanging up, Cameron moaned, “I’m dying.” The phone rang again and it was Ferris to say, “Your’re not dying. You just can’t think of anything good to do.” Here it is (custom made by my husband)…

Why do we feel like that? Why do we think that if we can’t think of something “good” to do, then we’ll be miserable and bored? Is relaxing on a day off not good?

The clip from Eat Pray Love explains it perfectly. We often confuse fun with pleasure. We don’t have to be laughing or doing some physical activity to find pleasure. I find pleasure in being lazy, even when I do get out of the house. For instance, going to the mall and just walking around or even sitting (people watching) is enjoyable to me. I don’t need to have a purpose to go to the mall – nothing in mind to buy, and no mindless spending necessary.

Sometimes I can’t help but wonder what the difference is. I can be lazy at home surfing the internet, reading, writing, or just watching TV, or I can be lazy at a state park. The surroundings are different, but the end result is the same. I get absolutely nothing accomplished.

I am guilty of the accusation in this movie clip. While I don’t feel time is wasted if I’m not having fun in the sense described in the clip, I feel it’s wasted if I’m not productive in some way. Spending an entire day watching TV is relaxing for sure, but I do feel guilty at the end of the day because I didn’t get anything accomplished.

Tangent alert… Some may see making jewelry as boring and unproductive, but that would be productive to me because there is an end result. Moreover, it exercises my creativity. The problem is that I don’t do it frequently enough to keep the creative juices flowing. I haven’t made anything since before Christmas. BEFORE CHRISTMAS! That’s a long time! It’s hard to just sit down and create something. The ideas just don’t come to me, and I sit there feeling overwhelmed with the amount of stuff in front of me. I start an idea and scrap it over and over because it’s not unique enough. But I digress… end of tangent.

Does it make me an old fart because I no longer feel a desire to be out in a crowd cuttin’ it up to have a good time that often? If so, then I’m fine with that because I am having a good time doing more relaxing (aka: lazy) things. My brain is still active. That’s good enough for me! Pleasure.

Dolce far niente!

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