how to do nothing...

I've been reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and I love it! She's a beautiful writer and I feel like I couldn't be reading this at a better time in my life. For starters, I've barely read any book in the last three years just for fun. I used to be a voracious reader, but the intense reading load in grad school just took all of the joy out reading. Every time I pick this book up I don't want to put it down!

In the first section of the book she travels to Italy in pursuit of pleasure. I was particularly excited about this because Jake and I are going to Italy this summer with another couple and I'm looking forward to relaxing. But as I read further into this section I came across the following excerpt, written by the author when she was trying to "learn" how to relax and take pleasure in doing nothing:

"...many Americans feel more happy and fullfilled in their offices than they do in their own homes. Of course, we all inevitably work too hard, then we get burned out and have to spend the whole weekend in our pajamas, eating cereal straight out of the box, and staring at the TV in a mild coma (which is the opposite of working, yes, but not exactly the same thing as pleasure). Americans don't really know how to do nothing. This is the cause of that great sad American stereotype - the overstressed executive who goes on vacation, but who cannot relax."

This really hit a nerve for me. From the time I wake up until I go to bed I feel like I'm constantly working. The only time I even watch tv is if I'm folding cards at the same time! The fist thing I do when I wake up on Saturday is check my email and I can't even seems to make time to go to a yoga class once a week. How is this possible? How am I going to be able to go to Italy for two weeks without my cell phone or computer? I'm taking this excerpt as a sign that I need to prioritize a little bit of time for myself every day to do something (or nothing) without feeling guilty. With that in mind, I'm going to make a real lunch (no Cheetos) and read some more of this book!


Deb said...

Oh I can so relate to what you've said about waking up and heading straight for the e-mail and the *can't just do nothing* syndrome! I think I should check out this book.

Alissa said...

Isn't it a fantastic read? So funny and REAL! I got such a "travel itch" after reading it.