How We Live: Profiter

I know I’m late to the party, but I just finished reading Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.

Among the many thought provoking passages, one in particular that stood out to me considers the idea of Profiter, or, “to enjoy the moment and take advantage of it.” To illustrate the idea, the author describes a weekend her family spends with friends in the countryside, and how eager the French family is to make and savor memorable moments:

“Hélène and William are ultradedicated parents all day long. But I notice that each night we’re there, as soon as the kids are down, they bring out the cigarettes and the wine, turn on the radio, and have what is obviously adult time. They wan to profiter–to take advantage of the company and the warm summer night. (Hélène is so keen to profiter one afternoon when we’re driving with the kids that she pulls over to a field in the late afternoon, whips out a blanket from the trunk, and produces cake for our goûter [snack]. The setting is so picture perfect, it’s almost more pleasure than I can handle.)” (pg. 196)

I noticed a similar sentiment when I visited Japan. Whole gardens were constructed so as to be able to enjoy carefully planted landscapes, from multiple perspectives. Whole restaurants were constructed such that guests could enjoy perfectly framed views of gardens while dining. And, yes, in the middle of Tokyo was built a garden with a teahouse, where, on a pond amidst fields of flowers, one could enjoy a matcha and rice cake snack.

Hamarikyu-tea-pavilion

As summer approaches, I am dreaming of seizing the moment with friends–talking late into the night, wrapped in blankets, on foggy beaches, stoking bonfires.

How about you? How do you optimize appreciation of beauty and gratitude in your daily life? How do you profiter?

Kiyomizu-dera-lotus

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