Got a minute to stop?
Let me introduce the theme of this year's first Surprise Box.
Time is a fundamental dimension of everyday life. We cannot see it or touch it but we can unequivocally sense its passage and adapt our behavior accordingly.
What's sure is that it has always been inexorably passing for everyone, and for this very simple reason, it is necessary to try not to waste it on anything in the world, doing, for example, things that do not fulfill us, that do not return any value to our lives.
I'm not going to tell you about how I went into burnout working as an HR manager. The time it took to rise from that experience was long but the time that really matters is now, and also tomorrow.
That's why the first My Box From Italy surprise box of 2023 will be dedicated to time, to time passing, and more specifically to the life we manage to put inside our time.
I wouldn't say time is money, but it is almost everything else.
I called Box No. 1 2023 "Dolce far niente" ("sweet laziness").
Does that sound familiar?
This expression has an ancient origin, indeed traces of it can be found in the Latin writings of the Roman senator Pliny the Younger, who lived during the Roman Empire in the second century AD.
The meaning conveys a vision rich in the wisdom that it doesn't hurt to remind ourselves from time to time.
This "sweet laziness," in practice, does not mean simply not working. It means unplugging from all activities that distract our attention from what is most important to us: ourselves.
When you're reading a book, watching a TV series, or scrolling through your Instagram feed, you fill your time with activities that are fun but still don't connect you with your inner self or bring you into a state of absolute rest. Lazing around means clearing our minds, connecting with our bodies, being quiet, and resting our senses - it is a true stress-relieving meditation.
Besides, what keeps us happy and healthy for a lifetime?
If you think it is fame and fortune you are not alone but you may be wrong. American psychiatrist Robert Waldinger has been conducting a 75-year study on development in adulthood that makes us think through a series of facts about true happiness and satisfaction. A study that started in the 1930s and that, as its main message, delivers this, "Good relationships keep us happier and healthier." It's that simple.
The three major lessons about relationships that come out of this extensive study are three. The first is that social relations are really good for us; the second it’s the quality of the relationships that matter; finally, good relationships not only protect our body but also our brain.
If you are interested, there is a TED talk where Robert Waldinger talks about it, I recommend it.
In short, the message is that good relationships are good for our lives. This is ancient wisdom. After all, even Pliny the Younger in his writings of the second century AD mentioned time taken away from study to devote to friends. “There is no study so important that for it the debt of friendship should be neglected,” he wrote. Yet, we manage to forget about it so easily, why do we do it?
Perhaps because we are human, as Waldinger says, and we always seek the simplest and quickest solution to solve our problems, while relationships are complicated and messy and last a lifetime.
The "Dolce Far Niente" Box is an invitation to devote some time to you and your loved ones, it is a pampering experience of the Italian concept of "doing something just for you by doing nothing" that goes far beyond the thought and reproach that is sometimes directed at us Italians, who are accused of laziness and enjoying dolce far niente. It is an Italian motto of ancient wisdom, reminding us of the importance of the quality we give to our time.
Each selected article will not only tell a little bit about Italy but also invite you to take a break from the daily hustle and bustle so you can get off to the best possible start.
It may be my favorite Box to date; what do you think?
Let me know in the comments.