Posted by: vlibrizzi | February 26, 2009

Don’t break a sweat

One thing I’ve noticed about Americans from being in France is that we work way too hard…at everything! At our jobs, in school, with our families, at the supermarket…we’re always in a rush and we’re always trying to “keep up with the Joneses”. Even “working out” in the U.S. is a serious endeauvor that requires hours of running, weight lifting, squatting, and sweating. 

But, not here in France. No, siree. 

Here, one only breaks a sweat when the boulangerie down the street is suddenly closed, without warning, for “vacation.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not criticizing the French lifestyle. In fact, I think their way of life is much better than the frantic, frenzied American lifestyle. And, heck, they’re much thinner and seem to be much happier than us, so they definitely have the right frame of mind.

Why don’t we all adopt their 35 hour work week? Wouldn’t that be wonderful? And, while we’re at it, why don’t we close all of our stores in the U.S. on Sundays and Mondays? We’d get to spend more time with our families instead of waiting in lines at the supermarkets or rummaging through racks at the mall.

But, the one thing that does irk me a bit (and my one American-ism that I can’t seem to shake) is the fact that so far, I haven’t seen a French person break a sweat. 

This phenomenon is most evident at the gym. For example, I’ve now taken yoga classes from two different yoga instructors here in France and the majority of we did for an hour was lay on our backs and practice breathing. Then, whenever I go to the gym, I can tell who the French people are because instead of running of the treadmills, they’re slowly walking. Or, instead of riding the bikes, their leisurely riding while reading a book. 

But maybe I should get over my frustration. Why should it make me so upset after all? They’re happy doing their breathing, slow walking, and bicycle reading.

Maybe I should take their lead and stop stressing out about the gym (and everything for that matter), and instead, start to enjoy life a little bit more. Heck, maybe I might lose a few pounds and look more “French” in the process.

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