Il Dolce Far Niente
Hope you are all doing well on this delightfully sunny day. You know if I’m on here then that means I’ve been thinking and thinking leads to me sharing with you (lucky ducks) so, if you would be so inclined to sit back and read a little of my thoughts!
I must preface this with the fact that I had entitled this blog post “balance” because it is…all about balance and imbalance – however I changed the title to reflect what my personal balance is all about and how I arrived there.
I believe that so many by products of our modern world has lead to so much toxicity and disease in our body like diet, modern medicine, lack of sleep, work stress and the fact that society likes to worship busyness. All of these things together create an unhealthy imbalance in our life.
Think of our life like a spider web – each web leads to different aspects of our life and things we devote our time too; family time, friendships, work obligations, groceries, meal prep and cooking, house maintenance, get togethers, physical activity, SLEEP (so important), taking care of our furry friends, hobbies and more. If we overload this web with too much of something or too much of it all – it creates an imbalance thus breaking the web (our body) and it all comes crashing down leading to disease, physical and emotional ailments, lack of money and resources, stress, anxiety and more. We become burnt out, fragile, distant and sick of it all.
For me I had to learn the hard way about balance and imbalance and from a young age too. Although I’m thankful I went through it all and it has taken quite some time to figure out what a good balance is for me and my body/lifestyle and how to unravel from being stuck in an imbalanced body and life. I will say this, it’s trial and error and it’s different for everybody. Sometimes we think we can do it all, handle it all, want it all but we quickly realize that, that could not be further from the truth.
When I was younger I thought I wanted to be a professional dancer. I spent at least 3-4 mornings per week in high school at the studio before classes. I spent every free evening as well as most of the day Saturday at the studio. Sometimes I even spent Sundays there if it was competition season. Don’t get me wrong though, I LOVED dancing, I loved being on the stage, I loved the makeup, sparkly costumes and spending time with my dance friends and I created some amazing memories however the older I got and the more I thought about the fact that I didn’t even realize what I was missing out on, the more I grew distant of it all.
I started to resent dance. And I hated feeling that way. I wanted to know that I could be good at more than just dance. I wanted to try new things. Most of all I just wanted to be STILL for a second. I wanted to eat my meals at a table – not in the car on my way to dance. I wanted to hang out after school with friends, I wanted to catch my favorite TV shows, I wanted to spend some time outside. I wanted to go to bed early and not be sore all over from 6 hours of dance class the next morning. I was a high school student who wanted to “play” outside. I missed most of my youth with hours logged in the studio. I wanted to enjoy my favorite foods without guilt of gaining weight or fear of not fitting into certain costumes. I wanted to NOT be an emotional mess all of the time. I wanted to experience the simple things that every young person should. I just wanted to be happy and carefree.
Maybe I went about it the wrong way as I was young and hormonal and kind of mixed up if I’m honest. I could NOT function the way I had been living anymore and I remember the moment I quit – it was a shock to my parents and dance family – and quite understandable that it upset the people who meant the most to me but I remember in that moment despite all the hurt I had caused others I felt like a free bird. And I decided at the young age of 16 to never get so busy again. To never say yes to things that I no longer wanted to do or participate in.
I started participating more at school – in field hockey and soccer, spent some time volunteering, experienced my first romance ok..maybe I had one or two romances lol hey it was high school after all, ate way too much junk food (ok, maybe went overboard with it) after starving myself for so long. I put my all into my grades and got into University. I traveled with friends and went to concerts. I experienced a bit of life. I actually did go back to dance but to a more relaxed environment. I danced twice per week in my favorite genre of dance, tap, and I even competed with that studio. It wasn’t stressful though, it was just fun. I was doing it for myself. And it was all on my terms. I didn’t feel busy and I wasn’t doing things for the sake of doing them. I said yes on purpose to the things that made me feel good and felt comfortable enough to say no when it started feeling like too much or if it stopped being fun. Most importantly, I had down time to breathe.
And maybe people don’t really get my philosophy on this topic but then again they didn’t live my life and they have not walked in my footsteps. I think some might see it as lazy…but I don’t feel that way at all. I am pretty steadfast in allowing nothing to create that imbalance that I felt back then into my life. I can feel my anxiety and stress creep up when things get too busy and too hectic in my life. And I will shut it down quite quickly. I know sometimes we go through hectic periods in life but overall I feel like we can control our environment and what we agree to participate in somewhat.
Society has us glorifying busy – so much so that we don’t even know why we are busy. We aren’t even being productive! And make no mistake busyness is not productivity. People act like it’s cool…like it’s a “thing” to keep busy. People please!!! STOP glorifying busy. And why do we do it? To mask the real issues we might be facing in our lives? Perhaps…there is always a root cause to our madness. Are we afraid to be alone with our thoughts? Afraid to disconnect? Afraid to be kicked out of our social circles? Afraid to be the black sheep? You tell me….
A few years ago when the book and movie eat,pray, love was released I resonated with it so deeply and took the catch phrase from that movie which I found perfectly summed up my philosophy on life…
“Il Dolce Far Niente” Italian for…the sweetness of doing nothing.
Now, Im not saying you need to take a trip to Italy, India and Bali to find yourself and realize what sort of balance you must create in your life to really appreciate it or to figure out whats important to you. But have you ever just took a moment to sit and really think about it? Are all of the things you try to cram into your day or feel necessary to say “yes” too really necessary? Do they improve your well being? Do they help you sleep at night? I’m going to guess – NO. Mostly not. When you feel busy is it stroking your ego? Probably, yes. I had to get to the point of breakdown, physical and mental exhaustion to realize what a mess “busy” had created in my young life.
I have written about this a bit before and sorry to be a broken record but I truly believe that living your best life is an art form. It’s going back to the basics, the way our grandparents lived. Sitting out on the porch watching your kids play…or in my case my fur baby. Feeding the birds. Admiring the flowers that have popped up over night. Being able to say no to unnecessary obligations and events without explanation. Cooking a meal for yourself using the best ingredients and sitting at a table to slowly eat it, alone with your thoughts. Reading the newspaper, walking to the library, checking out some books and getting lost in another world. It’s being able to unwind from the hectic life that we have created for ourselves. It’s about carving out downtime and making the most of it. Our body and minds deserve and demand it.
Do you glorify busy? Do you feel pushed into being busy? I’d love to hear your thoughts!