Joie-de-Vivre: Texas Style

Many other cultures, maybe even most other cultures, have a different set of values they prioritize in their daily life. You can tell what they value because of what they make room for in their schedules: slow meals with friends and family, coffee and tea breaks, walking, delicious food.

While many other cultures prioritize beauty, pleasure, and relationship, we tend prioritize values such as productivity, efficiency, and achievement. We run around trying to do everything, unwilling to trade any of our ambition for a more beautiful life.

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We all know this. We’re all working on it, or at least I think many of us are. I’m learning to give myself permission to live a beautiful life, in part so that my kids know that it’s ok to enjoy life, and in part so that I know it’s ok to enjoy life. Of course we should work hard, of course we shouldn’t be lazy, but that doesn’t mean we can’t savor our lives.

I’ve been feeling this pull to enjoy life more, day to day. To take time to sit down for a coffee and croissant at the coffee shop with my girls, to allow myself a nap or daily glass of wine. I think it requires slowing our pace, not trying to accomplish so much but really changing our priorities to enjoyment instead of completion. It’s like we have this collective angst, all of us in the modern western world, where we’re running from something – trying to get everything done – and only then can we truly live. I do this all the time – I tell myself, just fold the laundry and then you can take a break. If I would just take a break when I need it, then the laundry would’t be such a burden! When will I learn?

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So, even though I’m not surrounded by the beautiful architecture, fashion, style and culture of Paris; even though I’m not living in the warm, tropical environment of Costa Rica where they admonish each other with “pura vida”; even though I live among plain strip malls, too many parking lots, and risk being misunderstood by living a bit slower – I’m making an effort to cultivate a little more “joie-de-vivre”. Texas Style.

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