My blog title

by michelle on February 17, 2010 · 1 comment

For years I blogged under the title “Leisure with Dignity”.  It’s actually the english translation of my absolute favorite latin phrase ever.

While dedicating my entire life for over a year to learning latin in a very fast-paced and advanced college course, I realized just how much the learning and study of this language was changing my life.  In ways I never expected learning a language would change me.  I was in the throws of my last  semesters of my undergraduate degree in history and classical studies, writing my senior research project (35 page research paper FTW – and I loved every moment), and learning latin in order to get my classical studies minor (the ancients really speak to me).  I was planning a wedding.  I was working two jobs.  But I was eating, sleeping and breathing the latin language.

I couldn’t get enough.  I learned all of those words, declensions, the 3847673467634 verb tenses that latin requires.  I memorized parts of the Aeniad and a poem by Catullus.  I memorized countless little latin sayings, pieces of wisdom that those crazy romans had left for posterity.

Contubernalum Movere (to move (impress) your roommate)

  • Mos maiorum – the ways of the greats (to the romans, the greats were always the ancestors)
  • memento mori – remember those who have passed
  • Otium cum dignitate – leisure with dignity
  • Carpe diem – seize the day (we all know this, but when death was literally around the corner constantly, this phrase meant so much more)

With each of these close to 100 phrases that we learned that year in latin from our extremely erudite professor, he gave us a small lecture on what it meant to the romans, and how we could also apply it to our lives.

With each of these lectures, while our prof held this crazy group of once strangers turned close friends captive on his words, we listened intently to his words of wisdom, took them away, and I know that we all came away from that class as changed individuals.

Otium cum dignitate. (oh-tee-uhm coom dig-nih-tah-tay) The latin concept of “leisure with dignity”.  The Romans took (and take) their leisure time very seriously.  They believed in reading great works of literature, going to great works of drama and music.  They believed in utilizing their leisure time in a way that brought them a greater quality of life.  Sure, the ancient Romans were known for their orgies and benders, but when they left those parties, where do you think  they went?  They went back to their houses (if they were rich, their vacation houses overlooking the sparkling mediterranean sea) and read philosophy, great and epic works of literature, and enjoyed their life and surroundings while they could.

It’s a concept that I’ve taken with me since graduating.  That my own precious leisure time can be utilized for good!  Sure, I’ll watch some silly TV shows or a ridiculous comedy, but not a day goes by where I don’t think about my life, where I am, and give credence to those who have made all this possible for me.

Now that my precious leisure time is about to be consumed by a little one, it’s time to rethink.  My life, while it is the life that I chose, will no longer be just about me.  My life is now about the little one growing inside me, and my leisure time will now be mothering that little one.

I have taken many “labels” in my life.  Daughter, sister, cousin, granddaughter, friend, niece, student, server, barista, babysitter, teacher, wife.  But this next label, “mother”, holds a little more weight than all of the others in my opinion.  And I want to mother with dignity.

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }