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The Slow Life

by Laura
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

I am reading a story about woman who left her life and rented a villa in Northern Italy for six months. Her reasoning? She loves the 'slow life.' That expression intrigued me. The Slow Life.

Anyone who has been to Italy or any Mediterranean country knows exactly what that means. Working to live, and not living to work. Taking pleasure in the purple hue of a glossy eggplant, a perfect tomato, the aroma of a plate of spaghetti liberally sprinkled with fresh basil and parmesan, and stopping to enjoy it all.

Once again, my opinion that Westerners have it all wrong was validated. When do we stop and enjoy life? When do we ever sit for hours at a cafe, doing nothing but people watching and enjoying the moment? We dont do that, because we "just haven't got the time!!!" we lament. Do people of a Mediterranean culture somehow have more available time than us? Don't they have kids, jobs, commitments? Of course they do--but their whole way of life is structured around a different philosophy. For them, its all about doing nothing and enjoying life, for us this mindset is decadence at best or sloth at worst.

A confession? I love sitting in aiports, waiting for my plane--even better if the plane is delayed! Why? I dont have to DO anything. I dont have to cook or clean or make a call or write an email or clean the cat litter or do the laundry...I just have to sit. I just have to BE there and read the sign. I love that sense of freedom from obligation.

I know it might not make any sense...but I SLOW DOWN. My head slows down, I stop thinking of all the things I have to do that day and then do the next day. I can just sit, and wait and then get on the plane, and wonder of wonders, I don't have to DO anything there either (except bemoan the fact that I travel economy)...

Why is our life spent running around frantically having to do this and that, and always feeling so stressed, and like we never have enough time? Why do we do that? Is it because if we are 'doing' we are being successful? But, how do we measure our success?? Well adjusted kids?? The size of our TVs, houses, cars? Or the fullness of our life?? When I am away from here, my life is full for sure--but perhaps I could have a more 'full life' if I just had a slow life?

When was the last time you stopped and just thought...look at how beautiful THAT is, lets sit and do nothing and watch it? Too damn long, if you ask me.

Comments for The Slow Life

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Jan 16, 2011
'Il Bel Far Niente'
by: Suzanne

The Italians call this "The Beautiful Art of Doing Nothing'. When travelling in Italy, I couldn't help but notice that so many people would just sit, doing nothing in particular, maybe a passing chat to a friend, but just sitting, watching the world go about its business.

No music in their ears, no book, paper - just sitting. I have tried to practice this regularly, I often forget in the business of my life, but when I remind myself to take some time to do absolutely nothing and watch the world go by, everything just seems to take on a lovely clarity. And not surprisingly, I enjoy all those little moments so much more.

Here's to "il bel far niente'!

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