Today I came across the Italian term farniente in Caitlin Kelly's post, "Got Time To Read This? Two Meditations On How We (Should) Use Our Hours". It's her response to news stories about two superwomen who believe in not "wasting time". Kelly writes:
I love the Italian phrase farniente -- literally — “do nothing” and aspire to a life with far more undirected time. I also love the British expression for day-dreaming — wool-gathering. We all need time to fantasize and imagine, to stare into the sky and let our weary, overcaffeinated brains….chill.Very apropos for the weekend, and very apropos also because lately I've been trying to make myself unlearn the notion that time not spent doing something is "wasted time". I once had a colleague who would exult in weekends when she could just stone (which in Singlish refers to doing nothing in a mindless fashion, not a narcotic-induced state), and I would boggle at her because I always have to be doing something. Stoning is not something that comes naturally to me, all the more so now that I use an iPhone.
However, there have been times in the last few months when I get tired of whatever the iPhone or laptop has to offer, and I don't particularly want to watch anything on TV, and I just --- what's the verb for melting into a puddle of gooey suspended animation sans any coherent thought? I wish I could coin "muddling" for it, because that's how it feels: not muddled but a muddy puddle. Nothing to do with how hot the weather is or how tired I feel, just a simple desire to stop doing other things.
I tend to resist the muddy puddle because it feels like I'm "wasting time". But then I remind myself that I have to change my own attitude about that. Deep breath, skip the judgement and embrace the farniente.