How To Reclaim The Lost Art of Lingering
When was the last time you let time slip away and lingered over something? Perhaps it was a meal, or spending time with someone you don’t see very often. Maybe you lingered over a book and went to bed much later than planned. In some countries, lingering is a way of life. It would be unheard of to rush through a meal or stick to a schedule with Italy’s Dolce Far Niente.
For most however, getting it done is more important than enjoying, lingering and letting one moment inform the next.
A jam packed schedule leads to…
- drive thru meals
- delivery service
- a calendar with no white space
- driving too fast
- cell phones on in the car
- reactive behavior instead of a thoughtful response
- impulse shopping
- one way conversations
- missed opportunities to engage and enjoy
You owe it to yourself and your family to start living your lovely life and stop getting it done, because when it’s all done…it’s all done. Think for a moment about the moments you miss everyday because you are on autopilot. Now, shift to thinking about moments you can begin to enjoy by waking up a few minutes earlier, dropping an obligation that has no meaning to you, and turning off the TV.
You know you have lost the art of lingering when you…
- walk through a museum like you walk to your gate in an airport
- wrap dinner early to catch your favorite tv show
- take your dog for a walk to the mailbox instead of the park
- eat at your desk, typing with one hand
- type with both hands brushing crumbs off your keyboard
- skip yoga to do extra work (guilty)
- jump out of the bed and head right to the shower or the coffee machine
- won’t make slow cook oatmeal because it’s too slow
Think about how you feel when you are on vacation (unless you are an obsessive planner with an itinerary for everyday). When you take a vacation, you leave everything behind and sometimes don’t even pay attention to time. By the end of your stay, you are relaxed and happy. You might notice that you are more aware of what’s going on around you and can stay focused for longer periods of time.
There is a way to infuse some of that clarity and softness into your everyday life. You have to reclaim the lost art of lingering. Working more, longer, harder so you can afford your next vacation is not the answer. Incorporating vacation behavior into your life everyday is the answer.
This will take practice, intention and a commitment to re-prioritize, but what happens when you are successful is that you enjoy life more and as a side effect, become more creative and productive. You can begin to work smarter instead of harder.
How to reclaim the lost art of lingering
Linger first. When you wake up in the morning, breath and stretch. Look out the window before you look at your computer or phone. Smile.
Take a long lunch. If you work for someone who wouldn’t understand, you might have to tell a little, white lie (and then look for a new job). Try something like, “I have a dentist appointment today and may run a little late.” Then meet a friend at a cafe or in a park for a walk and leave your cell phone in the car.
Create for 30 minutes. Try drawing even if you don’t know how to draw. Don’t try to make anything amazing, just make something with your hands and your heart. During your next 30 minutes, give painting or writing a shot. Give yourself the time and permission to linger over creativity.
Plan a meal. Nourish your body and your soul with a slow cooked meal. Find a recipe that you know everyone will like. Let everyone know what time dinner is. Turn on some Diana Krall or other music that helps you melt into the moment and slowly chop vegetables, stir sauces and set the table. Light candles and call everyone for dinner. If it’s just you, sit at the table and admire what you’ve created. Turn down the lights, ban cell phones and electronics from the room and let everyone know that the dishes can wait. If you have succesfully reclaimed the lost art of lingering, you will spend more time at the table enjoying your meal than you did creating it.
My parents recently moved to Arezzo, Italy and I hope they are lingering everyday. I can’t wait to linger with them in July and am going to start practicing today.
What will you do to reclaim the lost art of lingering?
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