According to "The sweetness of life" by Francoise Heritier, an average European male is likely to reach the age of 85.
That's 31025 days to grow up and then grow old. Still, sometimes we feel as life is passing by too fast.
What do we do with our time? Let's see:
- 8 hours of sleep (my friends who recently turned moms would love to)
- 3 hours eating (including grocery shopping and loading the dishwasher. Unless you are Italian, then 4 hours will be just enough to get started on the appetizers)
- 2 hours dedicated to personal care (showering and grooming)
- 3 hours to get places, clean the house, fix the daily troubles (including kids)
- 6 hours working (at least! Unless you are writer, in which case, 2 hours is pushing it)
- 1 hour to socialize and attend meetings, share gossip, shovel coffees
This would leave 1 hour and 30 minutes a day to enjoy the little blessings of life (a bit more if you are not working).
What do I want to do in this 1 hour and 30 minutes? Not much. I would like to feel, more than do. To be aware, more than busy.
I would like to remember to thank God (in a broad, unspecific, nonreligious way) for being alive and smart, not too pretty and, hopefully, healthy.
This prayer is quite surprising, to myself mostly. Let's see why.
Beside being alive, that is a universal wish, I'm thankful for my reasoning abilities, more than my looks and my social skills. I suppose that is because I've always enjoyed mental adventures and animated philosophical disquisitions, therefore when I witness other people failing to express themselves in various subjects or languages I feel quite proud and blessed.
I'm also thankful of not being a beauty, so that I can enjoy the freedom that comes from not attracting excessive, undesired attention. I regard the gift of anonymity when I wish to be invisible (that is pretty often, having been born a solitary creature).
Last but not least, I've always been physically weak, with a tendency to dramatization, hypochondria and a delirious array of psychosomatic conditions. My life has been a long list of inexplicable sorrows that do not match my average, if not perfect, upbringing and life events.
So while Francoise Heritier throws herself in a (too long) list of little blessings to remind us of the sweetness of life, I let my mind wander to the significance of the original title, "Le sel de la vie" which literally translates "The salt of life".
I like this title better, because what makes life worthy is the taste, more than the sugar coat.