“Dolce far Niente”


Tonight, after I laid Ella down for “night-night,” I came into the living room and sat down on the floor.  The TV was off, the only lights in the room were from a lamp on our side table and our Christmas tree.  The only sounds were a quiet humming from the washing machine in the laundry room and sweet Geera purrs on the couch behind me.  I had just finished cleaning up the house for the day, already ate dinner — all I wanted to do was just sit and “be” for a second.  That second turned into minutes, and before I knew it, those minutes turned into a full hour.

It’s so easy to get consumed by our day to day life — and I’ll bite and say, especially when you are a parent.  Everything I do, say, think is for my loved ones — T, Ella — and sometimes I forget that everything I do, say, think should be for me, so I can be better for those I want to give my everything to.

People say as you get older, time flies by — and I’m already experiencing that this seems so true!  But really, time is going by at the same rate it always has.  It’s constant — a second is a second, a minute is a minute — whether you are 2 years old or 28 or 80.  I think the difference is, as we age, we spend so much of our time doing things for others,  wishing for more time for ourselves.  And, before we know it, another day is done, and you find yourself sitting on the living room floor already thinking about the to-do list for tomorrow.  Thinking, maybe if I can scratch this or that off my to-do list tonight –then maybe I’ll have an extra 30 minutes to finish that book, or paint my nails.

Why is it we put the things we want to do on the back-burner? As if, the things we want to do are a reward for doing the things we “have” to do. What if we put some of those “wants” as a priority for a change — giving ourselves a chance to “sharpen our saw.” The laundry will still be there tomorrow — so why not spend the evening doing something you want to do instead?

I’m a list maker — I make lists for my lists. I have a list of things that I would love to have “more” time to do, but for some reason, I never give myself the time to do any of these things. It’s classic, but I’m one of those people who have big dreams and hopes, and start amazing ideas — then never finish them or see them through, because I let other things monopolize my time. And it hurts even writing that out, because I know it’s true.

Did you know I always wanted to learn Italian?  A few years ago, I bought all the books and cds to help me learn, I even got to the point where I was able to say basic sentences.

And then I stopped.

Also, I’m an awesome baker — yeah, I bake! And decorate! I even started my own baked goods shop and sold quite a bit while I was doing it. And people loved it! I loved it.  It was a dream to own my own bakery one day.

And then I stopped.

Right now, I have a mountain of books by my bedside that I want to read. Really great books — and for some reason, they are collecting dust.  I’ve opened (maybe) two or three of them, read the first few pages, and then I stopped.

How am I going to be able to teach Ella to think for herself, spend time doing what she loves to do, and encourage her to put her thoughts and feelings first — when I don’t even do that for myself?

It’s a process and learning curve for me, for sure. But I am on my way.  Tonight, instead of spending that full hour going over my to-do lists and planning out tomorrow, I just sat and enjoyed the company of myself. It sounds weird saying that, but it’s amazing just giving myself the time to enjoy doing…. nothing. No distractions, no social media calling my name, no TV noise, no one else present to give my attention to. Just me. Ashley. And it was lovely.

Il dolce far niente — the sweetness of doing nothing.

If you had an extra hour of time everyday — or rather, if you gave yourself an extra hour of time everyday — what would you do with it?



6 thoughts on ““Dolce far Niente”

  1. Wonderful! Reading your article felt as if I was reading my own thoughts. Only, Ella would be Fudo and Maeva.

    I too give myself an hour to reflect, meditate, appreciate, and ponder what my next move will be to better myself and better my position, so I may teach and help those around me.

    Keep it going Ashley!

  2. You have to take time for yourself…easier said than done…as you know. I am in the same boat you are, books I want to read, things I want to accomplish (playing the piano for one). We just have to make it a priority. I try to read 15-30 min/day. Might not be a lot, but after a month that is about 7-15 hours of reading. Little bits everyday add up! That is one thing I have learned.

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