What is the Art of Life to Me?

So as you may know, I call myself a self-proclaimed student of art de vivre, i.e. the art of life (I just like the French way of saying it more). And some time ago I have asked this question on my blog: how do you define the art of life? Interesting enough, have I ever answered this question myself?

I did answered it to myself, and I thought it is important that I share my answer here. But then the summer came crossing over my plans. Festival happened. Guests happened. Life in summer happens – with more intensity. So I found myself forgetting my answer. But it has never left my mind. So what is the art of life according to me?

harbour in Marseille
feeling French in Marseille 

The first thing I did: I went to my journal notes from March where I was musing about my own question: how do you define the art of life? That day had a rainy morning, but then the sun was peering through, and I even spent a little moment on the balcony to catch it. I started my day with yoga and meditation and then I worked on my blog. Later I sent myself for a run even though there was an inner resistance. But then I got a runner high and had a great evening though nothing special happened. I ate my dinner, turned on Norah Jones and did the dishes, ate two bits of chocolate for desert. And when I sat down with my journal I jotted down these small experiences and there, in front of me on paper, I had an answer to what the art de vivre is to me.

The secret to art of life, according to me, is in balance. To eat avocados and salads, but treating myself to a bit of chocolate or a glass of red wine. To go running and allowing myself to sit on the couch staring out of the window. Being social and spending time on my own. Life of art is hidden in pleasures, even in the smallest ones (especially in the smallest ones): favorite music, my daily food, a cup of coffee sitting next to the flowers. An important ingredient is doing the work I enjoy – and at the same time a talent of cozy idling, that Italian “dulce far niente”(sweet doing of nothing). We must allow ourselves to just be sometimes, without attachment to our activities.

As you see, what is important to me is the balance between different foods, activities and attitudes (maybe, because I am Libra and this is kind of my celestial call. Whatever))). I am in search of balance and physical activity I enjoy.

Then there are just elements that are crucial to my idea of good life: love, communication, aesthetic pleasure, a chill out atmosphere, variety, celebration, and dance. And the small things like: the taste, music, plants and flowers, aromas.  Also the art of life depends on the season. In winter art de vivre is not the same as in summer.

When talking about quality of life, there is a confusion: some say it is best in the Scandinavian countries, and some say – in the Southern ones. I like the distinction one girl made: there is a standard of life (income, comfort, infrastructure, social services), which is really high in Scandinavia, and then there is a quality of life (social life, celebration, fun, cuisine), which is rich in the Mediterranean countries. I used to agree with this point, and now I would opt for a mix. If I could create my own design of life it would be a mix of Scandinavian values and the Spanish taste for life. I would take that Southern sun, colors, life in the narrow streets after sunset, those parties and festivals, flirting, talking to strangers, the taste of wine and tapas – and mix it with the Scandinavian love for solitude and the nature, independence, walks in the forest, coziness, casual style and easy unstressed living.

What would be your design of a good life? Feel free to add your elements to my list – or create your own, a totally different one!

 

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