“And so I say to myself that, if there are people who play violin, change diapers, play amateur porn videos, teach hip-hop, sow and read Harry Potter, there is for sure at least one out of seven billion who waits for me, and in ten minutes I’ll meet him.” Chiara Gamberale, Per Dieci Minuti
You wake up one day, have your coffee, work your 8 hours and then think about dinner. Have dinner, watch some TV, go to sleep. You wake up the day after, have your coffee, work your 8 hours and then think about dinner. Have dinner, watch some TV, go to sleep. Now, imagine this sequence every single day for weeks, or months. At first, it seems quite a nice routine, you get comfy in knowing how your day is going to look like, and if you are a super chilled person like me, you would think this is actually quite nice. You don’t miss running to the train station, or those get together with people you barely tolerate, or being packed with 200 people in a bus. Outside things are quite concerning, but even thinking about it makes your heart jump so you just focus on you, and make the most out of the situation. What happens next is that you wake up one day and think: is that it? I had my coffee, I am going to work for my 8 hours etc… is that really it?
So that little routine that made me feel safe and comfortable in the previous weeks, all of the sudden became like a little whisper in my ear, that was clearly saying to me: “Is that it”? Was life really about working and having dinner? And I started feeling like I wasted all the time spent at home, doing the same thing over and over again, without truly taking advantage of the situation.
If there is one thing that I don’t like about my personality, is that I go from 0 to 100 in one heartbeat, and this is one of those occasions.
I had to do something, I had to shake things up a little bit, but still keeping it real because I mean, I can’t really think about it but outside is still not safe.
Thinking time. The first thing that came to my mind is that I really love chilling on my couch with a super soft blanket and a cup of tea, and I couldn’t take it away from me – but rather than spending half of my evening with one eye on the telly and the other on my Instagram page, I would make a good use of my time. While I was trying to remember when was the last time I read a book, I felt actually embarrassed about not being able to remember – was it last year? 6 months ago? So it was a pretty easy decision, I would spend my evening reading something.
This is the problem when you have such a detailed plan: something doesn’t mean anything, there are hundreds of genres, thousands of authors, and I am lucky enough to speak 2 languages, so I had an almost infinite choice.
The thing is, for the first time I wasn’t actually interested in thriller books, which is my favourite genre, but I wanted to read something light-hearted and fun, something that wouldn’t keep me with my face glued on the book for hours. Interestingly enough, I never considered reading romantic novels, as I was stupidly convinced they were silly stories with the usual structure: he loves her, she loves him, something bad happens, they find a way to get back together. Yes I know, very judgemental and superficial, but life is also about redemption so here I am with my copy of Per Dieci Minuti (For Ten Minutes) by Chiara Gamberale, a talented Italian writer that I stupidly ignored for years.
I won’t tell you the full story, but basically the main point of this book is that Chiara, our protagonist, after losing her job and splitting up with her husband doesn’t know what do with herself. She keeps existing, but she is not actually living: she spends most of her time feeling sorry for herself, mulling over what “it could have been”, hoping to get her old life back.
One day, her therapist suggests something that is almost like a game: for the next month, every day Chiara would do something she never did in her life, just for ten minutes.
Starting from putting pink nail polish, to walking backwards in a crowded street, these new little experience lead to new stories, new people or new adventures for Chiara, that week after week learn something new about herself.
What I find ironic is that the first time I read a romantic novel, the book talks about how new experiences, no matter how small, can change our lives.
So I decided to give it a go, and the new things I experienced range from an online Zumba class to venturing into a new bakery. So far it seems that not only I am enjoying doing something new everyday, I am also loving planning what is going to come next. It is like I am now looking at infinite possibilities that I couldn’t see before, or didn’t want to see as I was stuck in a routine that doesn’t actually belong to my personality. The soft whisper has now been replaced by ideas buzzing louder and louder, and who knows, it might take longer than one month to do all the things that are crossing my mind.
Is that it? Yes, and it is fantastic.