Dolce Far Niente

By Dr. Jassam

In some movies scenes, an actor is often depicted sitting alone while the camera dynamically focuses on their head, symbolizing the whirlwind of thoughts and events transpiring within. Each one expresses a different emotion – laughter, screams, or dialogue – capturing the diversity of experiences. These scenes mirror our daily work routine, where one person may be in tears, another complaining, someone feeling low, and another yearning for a work break. However, these scenarios are not in front of the camera, they are real.

Despite the gratification and noble purpose of our work, it proves exceptionally draining for the mind, soul, and heart. At the day’s end, we find ourselves moving mechanically, akin to robots, and speaking with a sense of automation. We return home fatigued, retire early to bed, and rise promptly to embark on a new day, devoid of weariness or monotony.

By inclination, I tend to retire early and rise early, a habit that persists even on weekends. It is a rarity to find me in bed after 7:00 in the morning.

This time, during the holiday, I resolved to change everything – yes, everything. In essence, I opted not to engage in anything. I thought, “I’ll think like Italians for seven days and observe what unfolds. Rome won’t burn again, and Nero won’t resurrect.” Thus, I made the choice to wrap up all my work at the office before commencing my break in a true Italian style.

I kept my plan a secret, not even informing my wife. I wanted to witness the surprise on her face, coupled with amazement and perhaps some confusion. They say that confusion and amazement make women appear more beautiful.

On the first day, I remained in bed. When 8:00 am arrived, I lay there with closed eyes, harboring a mischievous smile within, sensing my wife’s movement as she questioned why I was still in bed at this hour. However, the amusement was short-lived as she prodded me, inquiring if everything was okay. I assured her I was merely lying down, and she left me be. After half an hour, she returned, once again asking if I was alright, this time with a voice tinged with concern and bewilderment. “Are you sure you’re okay? This has never happened in our entire lives,” she remarked. I chuckled, got up, and proceeded to take a shower. Later, I turned on the TV to enjoy some soothing music.

I kept stealing glances at my wife, witnessing her mix of surprise, joy, and happiness. She informed me that my phone’s battery was nearly depleted and reminded me to recharge it. Casually, I told her to let it die completely; I won’t recharge it. She laughed heartily and remarked, “As if I don’t know you.” In jest, I responded, “So, should I propose to you again?” She replied, “Maybe, but not so quickly this time. I want to get to know you better.”

I didn’t reveal my plan to spend the next day in bed to my wife, but I stayed lying down and even dozed off. However, my wife couldn’t tolerate this new version of me beside her, so she woke me up at 9:30 am. Yes, I stayed in bed until 9:30 am, and when she asked if I was okay, I laughed and informed her that I had decided not to do anything at all during this holiday. I won’t leave the house, won’t open a computer, and won’t recharge my phone. All I’ll do is lie in bed, wake up in the morning, take a shower, have breakfast, exercise, and pray. Apart from that, my plan is to do nothing. She remarked it sounded like the Italian expression in the american movie: “Eat, Pray, Love.” Exactly, I replied.

Here it is, the fifth day in a row, and I’m still not doing anything. I’ve discovered the beauty and wonder of doing nothing, and I’ve decided to write about it. I only broke my resolution to write this article, and after that, I’ll return to my new world because I still have two days of laziness, stillness, and nothingness ahead. These have been some of the most beautiful days of my life, and I plan to repeat them again and again. I have come to understand the meaning of “Dolce Far Niente” — the sweetness of doing nothing.