Life

The art of doing nothing

Yesterday was a public holiday in Belgium. November is great like in this little country, as in many other European countries, two days off close to each other (the second one being on November 11) give people the perfect chance for a mid-season getaway.

The day was the perfect autumn day. The sun shining, not too cold but crisp enough to make one feel the winter that’s coming, golden leaves everywhere, quiet and calm.

And how did I choose to take advantage of the day. BY DOING NOTHING. Like absolutely nothing. Except of course for eating a lot, cooking a meal, finishing my book (A Room of One’s Own – highly recommended to all women out there!), finishing Narcos AND watching The Bridge on the River Kwai for the first time in my life.

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Me realizing the day has gone by and all I did was eat.

Funny thing is I couldn’t wait for this day off. Monday evening I was making all these plans in my head as to how I would have a big breakfast at home, go out early in the morning and take pictures of the amazing nature (yes, we’re lucky enough to have great green spaces in Brussels), do a little picnic in the park with my boy and a book, go visit a museum (I currently have this Picasso exhibition on my radar), then go back home, update my blog, study a bit of French and then finish off with a light dinner and Netflix.

Instead, I didn’t leave my apartment not even for a second. My boyfriend at least took out the trash, but me? No, no way, on the lovely couch ALL.DAY.LONG. I didn’t even try my usual Sunday evening routine to fight the “OMG this holiday is so short” blues.

Am I proud of it? Nope. Did I enjoy it? Yessssss. There is a certain guilty pleasure in doing nothing, like eating a lot of ice cream or reading gossip magazines that are full of extravagant lies or doing these two things simultaneously. I very firmly believe that we are more and more in need of some quiet time when we really don’t have to do or even think of anything. Just be. With our loved ones preferably but also on our own. I spend most of my days hooked on my phone, sitting on a desk across my laptop, running from meeting to lunch to meeting to dinner, trying to meet with friends, talk to my parents on Skype, do cultural stuff and go to the gym. On a daily basis. Which at some point starts looking like it’s the impossible deed that everyone is working towards. I’m lucky enough to live in a small city, I cannot even begin to imagine how life is for the New Yorkers or the Londoners out there. So, yes, very proud of not doing anything productive yesterday, just feeding my mind and my body 🙂

What I ate: We tried two new recipes these past couple of days that really made my head fly off the roof.

  1. Greek version of meatloaf with bacon and eggs: Ok this is seriously the most delicious minced meat version I’ve ever tried in my whole life. Plus it was so much food that we were eating it for 3 days in a row – quite perfect if you ask me for a lazy day off that you don’t even want to think about cooking. Here below a token of this recipe’s amazing quality and here’s the recipe for those who date trying the most perfect meatloaf of all time.

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    Greek-style meatloaf and thank God for food.
  2. Chocolate brownies with tahini – completely vegan btw, which also kind of blew my mind. I couldn’t believe how delicious the result of this recipe was. If you’re lovers of orange and cinnamon like I am (not simply a fan, not even a huge fan, but A LOVER), then please try the recipe this weekend, you’ll thank me every bite of the way.
Life

What would you do?

For love?

I’m currently going through the last pages of one of the best novels I’ve read (and I do read a lot – it’s another one in my long list of things that make our lives worth living):

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (check out this book cover – how awesome is it?)

So this great book, among other super extraordinary things, features a very special love story between “the Master” and Margarita (don’t get too excited, the “Master” is just a master of his art, not a 19th century version of Christian Grey).

In her quest to offer the Master some relief from his life’s torments (I’m not going to go into details here, but PLEASE DO READ THIS BOOK), Margarita partners with the Devil (in a kind of a Faustian way). Which got me into thinking: what would I do for the people I love?

And especially when it comes to couples-love: how far are we willing to go to secure our partner’s feelings and ensure they are perpetuated in eternity?

Lana Del Rey, for instance, would be able to do things that I would never consider myself capable of:

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When I was younger, I would say NO to anything that would mean (or be interpreted) as losing of my power. Not moving to London to study because my boyfriend could not follow – Of course not, move to London! Tone down irony and be more mindful to my partner’s feelings when I speak – Of course not, who cares about formalities! Learning to sleep with someone who snores – Of course not, ditch the loser! He wants to you to meet his family – ARE YOU CRAZY OR WHAT.

And then years went by and I turned 30. And I lost a couple of guys over some of the things mentioned above. And I’m now with a guy despite of some of the things mentioned above. And I’m actually considering sticking with this guy for some time. (Don’t worry Lana, you’re still winning on this one).

However, I don’t feel like there is a recipe. These are realizations that come to each one of us unexpectedly. One thing I’ve learnt growing up is that we cannot be too sure about ourselves. The do’s and don’t, the want’s and don’t want’s, are fluid concepts. There are of course some things that never change: I would never put up with violence. I would never let my happiness being ignored. I would never forgive the same mistake twice. I would never let anyone make me feel like I don’t matter.

But I would change my ways. And I would learn to let people in. And I would start to listen and think about someone else’s wellbeing as I do about mine.

And these are some of the things I would do for love. And ultimately, learn how to love.