A friend of mine introduced me to a new word today: sprezzatura.
I was explaining to her how I have always treated my post-high school education like a competition. All of my classmates versus me in a battle to determine who was best. Receiving an exceptional grade was great, but knowing that I was on top was even better.
As such, I would routinely find ways to demoralize my classmates on my climb to the top. Finishing tests as quickly as possible. Casually displaying high marks for my classmates to see. Making it appear as if the completion of a tough homework assignment was afterthought. Preparing two or three insightful comments prior to class, usually based upon research in an area that appealed to the professor.
The fact that my classmates were almost never aware of this battle probably helped a lot.
And so, in an effort to describe my attitude, my friend gave me sprezzatura:
“A certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it.”
She also asked me if I thought that this was a healthy way to live.
I dunno. I graduated in the top 5% of every school I’ve ever attended, I’ve achieved my dream of becoming a teacher and an author, and I’m very happy with my life.
I feel pretty healthy.