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5 Things Eat Pray Love Taught Me About Life

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Eat, Pray Love is a book I return to often. I think a lot of travelers read it. Each time I read it I re-discover and reflect. I’d thought I would take a moment to illustrate five things that Eat Pray Love taught (or in some cases reminded) me about life.

5 Things Eat Pray Love Taught Me About Life
Photo credit: wsifrancis

[1] Life is about Pleasure.

(Chapter 21)
There is a saying that goes: work to live not live to work. I thought it was a French saying, but my husband doesn’t think so. I know I heard it many times while working in Switzerland. My office was very international with people from all over Europe, so it is hard to say who to attribute it to.

When I tried to do some research about it online, I ran into many posts about this saying being attributed to Generation Y. I wasn’t exposed to the whole generational differences debate while living in Europe, so I still think that its source is European. The point is that this is something that Elizabeth Gilbert observed while she was in Rome.

French and Italians are very similar in their attitudes about life and where work fits in. Pleasure is of utmost importance and is considered a priority in life. I think too often this is overlooked by the simple act of living. Life is full of stresses and we often miss out on taking pleasure in the small things.

As small as a beautiful apple, the sun on your face, or the smell of the paper of the pages of the book you are reading. Taking a moment to remind ourselves to do this is critical. Oddly enough it is a reminder that most French or Italians don’t need it, it is ingrained in their DNA.

[2] It is never too late to find yourself, or reinvent yourself.

(I can’t find the specific chapter where this idea grabbed my attention, sorry!)
30, 40, 50. It does not matter. You are not stuck. “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”

I am still baking, I am not done and still have lots of time to be “complete.” In the meantime, I can change directions 10 more times before I die. There are no rules that say the person I am at 40 is who I have to be at 50. Don’t corner yourself, continue to innovate!

[3] Food can replenish more than your stomach.

(Chapter 21)
I think food is life. It is more than what is merely on your plate. It is passion, it is sustenance for your body and your soul. I wrote about how food changed my life in my post and I honestly believe that it can restore you (when not used as compensation for something else).

I loved this part of the book. Elizabeth went to a farmer’s market in Rome and carefully selected food items to make a simple lunch in her apartment. When she returned and prepared her meal she eats it on the floor drenched in sunlight. She wrote that it was one of the happiest moments of her life and I totally believe it.

[4] Happiness is all a state-of-mind.

(Chapter 87)
Elizabeth Gilbert called it Diligent Joy. Purposeful appreciation of the simple joys in life [see #1!]. She also quoted a friend who stated that “all the sorrow and trouble of this world is caused by unhappy people.” The only person who really has control over how you feel is yourself. You can choose to be happy. Even when things are not going your way. Very Pollyanna, I know, but very powerful.

[5] You find love when you least expect it. And love is always complicated.

(Chapter 93)
Ain’t that the truth! When you stop focusing on something and open yourself up to the possibilities of just being and controlling your own life you would be amazed who gets drawn into your path. Once “found,” there are no fairy tale stories and all love must be tended to. And it is never easy, ever. But..it is so worth it!

How about you? Did Eat Pray Love teach you something about life?

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