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  • Writer's pictureMui R

Episode 01: Otium

Wikipedia defines it as such: “Otium, a Latin abstract term, has a variety of meanings, including leisure time in which a person can enjoy eating, playing, relaxing, contemplation and academic endeavors. It sometimes, but not always, relates to a time in a person's retirement after previous service to the public or private sector, opposing "active public life". Otium can be a temporary time of leisure, that is sporadic. It can have intellectual, virtuous or immoral implications. It originally had the idea of withdrawing from one's daily business (neg-otium) or affairs to engage in activities that were considered to be artistically valuable or enlightening (i.e. speaking, writing, philosophy). It had particular meaning to businessmen, diplomats, philosophers and poets.”

Otium is what we today define as retirement. Work so many years to enjoy the luxury of what life finally has to offer. But why does it have to be when you are much older and not when you are in your 20s and 30s? Why can’t we incorporate more Otium into our lives when we are much younger? Because society demands it. It takes too much effort to live the basics- house and food. The recent pandemic showed us that we needed the pause to enjoy life a little more. Many of us took up cooking, reading, gardening, or even Marie-Kondo’d the house. This is what we all needed. Each of us looked at our lives and re-examined them and sought change when it was needed. In the end, it made us all feel we are closer to the state of Otium.

When we incorporate in our busy daily lives a little Otium, it goes a long way for our happiness as well as those around us. We also are truly impacted by our friends and family we are closer to enjoying their company with good food and memories. Now that is a life well-lived.

So let's cruise and give in to our desires to discover the world around us through new perspectives.

“He who does not know how to use leisure

has more of work than when there is work in work.

For to whom a task has been set, he does the work,

desires it, and delights his own mind and intellect:

in leisure, a mind does not know what it wants.

The same is true (of us); we are neither at home nor in the battlefield;

we go here and there, and wherever there is a movement, we are there too.

The mind wanders unsure, except in that life is lived.”

— Iphigenia, 241–248

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