This book has been on my list to read for a while now, but the movie release really pushed me to read it. I also used it in my 101 list (to read the book and see the movie)! I have completed the book (just yesterday) so will hopefully find time to see the movie while it’s still in theaters. I’m going to take more than one post to share some excerpts and discuss my favorite parts.
The basic synopsis: Elizabeth Gilbert had hit rock bottom in her life and decided that the best way to deal with it was to get away. And not just a vacation, but seriously take a step back from her life and travel in other countries for a whole year. She spent 4 months each in Italy, then India, then Indonesia.
Italy was her pursuit of pleasure, which did not include physical pleasures at all. In fact, her pleasure became eating everything she could and finding the best food in Italy. This sounds like a trip for me. She really took time to get to know herself and test her limits emotionally. Below is one of my favorite paragraphs (sorry it’s a little long):
Generally speaking, though, Americans have an inability to relax into sheer pleasure. Ours is an entertainment-seeking nation, but not necessarily a pleasure-seeking one. Americans spend billions to keep themselves amused with everything from porn to theme parks to wars, but that’s not exactly the same thing as quiet enjoyment. Americans works harder and longer and more stressful hours than anyone in the world today. But…we seem to like it. … Of course, we all inevitably work too hard, then we get burned out and have to spend the whole weekend in our pajamas, eating cereal straight out of the box and staring at the TV in a mild coma (which is the opposite of working, yes, but not exactly the same thing as pleasure). Americans don’t really know how to do nothing.
I am completely guilty of this. I love having a full work and social calendar…until it gets to be too much. It is extremely hard to find a balance. And doing nothing? That is completely out of the question. Even now, as I type, I am relaxing in a coffee shop…but I am working on my blog. I am the queen of multitasking…if I am watching tv I am also on my computer or reading. There is always music playing in the background. It is almost physically impossible for me to just sit and revel in silence. And honestly, I don’t know too many people who can.
This is a goal for the near future. Make time for nothing. And enjoy it.