I have learned, finally, one of the most basic of lessons for anyone who works too much: taking care of yourself means that you can take care of more business. I can take better care of my patients the better I take care of myself: sleeping, eating, exercising, and yes, vacationing. I’ve found that keeping my sanity at work means planning my time AWAY from work: having something to look forward to makes the tough days and nights much, much easier. It also means NOT cooking dinner as soon as I get home; I’ve gotta take a minute, no matter how starved I am, to unwind. I need to take a few minutes and just sit outside and breathe in the fresh air. It does me a world of good!
“La dolcezza di niente,” in Italian, means “the sweetness of nothing.” Everywhere except America, people know how to relax and enjoy life and the sweetness of nothing, of not being busy. Italians are perhaps the very best at enjoying themselves and enjoying the pleasures of life; all of the clothes, the food, the wine, the architecture, their passion for life. I’m actually on call tonight, even as I write this, while I’m at work, I work very, very hard (it’s getting easier by the day, though, thankfully). But when I’m at home; we’re Italian. Come home, enjoy a glass of wine while watching the sunset, make some dinner, take a leisurely stroll in the sunset on the isle. We’ve dubbed these our “quality of life” measures. We make it a priority to make the most of the few hours we have together in the evenings. We’re planning a vacation soon to Portland and Washington State to discover the Pacific Northwest wine country (it’s apparently a big deal!), and I just cannot wait. I look so forward to a week of us actually spending whole days together, strolling along beautiful vineyards, eating fabulous home-grown food, and drinking a smooth glass of Pinot Noir (apparently what that region is famous for).