There is this Italian concept called “dolce far niente” which means the sweetness of doing nothing. Not only do most Italians believe in this, but this concept also becomes their way of life. However, when trying to intertwine this concept with American culture, it can become a struggle. In reality, how can doing nothing really be something sweet? In America, there is this stigma that if we do absolutely nothing then we are then classified as a lazy individual. Trying to incorporate a concept from a different culture is difficult and sometimes impossible because different countries truly cannot grasp the concept. However, maybe a concept like “dolce far niente” is one we can integrate into the American culture.
In America, we wake up in the morning, make a cup of coffee, serve breakfast for the family, pack lunches, go to work, come home, continue to take care of the family, do chores and then the next day we start the same day over again. Within those days when do we actually take a moment for ourselves to just do nothing? The answer to that is when we feel that we deserve it. We have lived to believe that in order for us to even take five minutes for ourselves we need to justify that we deserve it. However, without giving an explanation why can’t we just not do nothing? We live in a country that is based upon a reward system. If we did not finish a project or a task, then we will not take a moment for ourselves because we did not truly earn it. Maybe it is because we do not want to be known as a “lazy country.” If Italy can live upon this concept, then why can’t we? Why can’t we just step outside of the office for a glass of wine or just walk into the park because we feel like it instead of catching up on chores or checking emails? How different would our quality of life be if we set time aside each day to experience dolce far niente?
We live in a society where we strive to have an amazing work ethic from a young age that we forget to take a moment for ourselves. A concept that America used to incorporate throughout their week was known as a “taking a Sunday drive.” What this consisted of was taking a piece of your day to be in motion and experience a sense of piece of just going somewhere for no reason at all. There was no specific destination. The goal was to just take off and see where the road would take you. Now, why can’t we take just 15 minutes out of our day, leave the office, just take off and incorporate this concept not just in one day of the week, but each day of the week? Take a moment during each day to clear your mind, stop thinking and do nothing. Easier said then done, right? Can we really keep our minds silent for just a moment and stop our minds from reminding ourselves of tasks that we need to do? If this is a hard concept for you to understand or even just want to try to implement think of it like this. We as humans are like machines that need to rest and have our oils changed. We as humans need to take a moment to relax and reenergize by experiencing the sweetness of doing nothing.
Let's take a moment and not feel guilty in the pleasure of doing something mindless and insignificant. Let's work hard and still enjoy our lives. We live in a country where we work hard now so that one day we can finally stop to just enjoy life itself. However, we are not promised later. That’s why it is so important to just enjoy life and the sweetness of doing nothing.