Untranslatable sentences: me da pereza

Today I´m bringing you one of those untranslatable phrases that I enjoy collecting, only this time it goes the other way round: it´s an expression in Spanish for which I can´t find a good English translation.

Example scenario: it´s Friday evening, and the company´s Christmas party is starting in a couple of hours. Outside it´s already dark, and quite cold; the snow from the previous night has started turning into ice. I´m feeling warm and cozy at home, and when I start thinking about dressing up and going out, into Dublin´s city centre, to attend the party...

Me da pereza.

Grey cat lying on its side a wooden shelf, looking at the camera

That´s what I would say in Spanish, "me da pereza", which loosely translates as "I´m overcome with a feeling of laziness when I think about doing X". It´s as if I got tired just from thinking about it. It´s a powerful sensation that comes upon me... and pushes me toward the couch 😀

Looking around, I´ve found two possible translations: "I don't feel like it", which more literally translates as "no me apetece", and "I can't/couldn't be bothered", which basically means that I'm not going to do it, either because I don't consider it to be necessary, or because I'm not interested, or because I'm too lazy to make the effort.

I guess from those two, the closest one is "I don't feel like it", because it conveys the idea that I think doing X is a good idea in general, but at this moment in particular I don't have the energy or the will to do it. The other one, "couldn't be bothered", doesn't fit as well, in my opinion: it doesn't seem to me that it values X in any way (due to passivity, indifference, or who knows why) and it's also assuming that, whatever X is, I'm not going to do it.

And that's the beauty of "me da igual" or "I don't feel like it", in my opinion: it's an obstacle but not a blocker, just a barrier that can be overcome. Very often, our brain wants to go for the easy option, the comfortable one, the one that saves the most energy, and it has good reasons (namely preservation instinct). But we don't have to always pay attention to it, because it doesn't always know what's best for us...

I'm not saying that we shouldn't listen to our body when it really needs to rest, of course we should. But beyond that, it may be good for us to think about what it is that's holding us back, and why. What's hiding behind that laziness? What are we really trying to avoid? And what reward can we find if we go ahead regardless? That way, we will know if it's worth making that initial effort.

Did I finally go to the party? Yes, I did. Why? Because I knew that once I got there, I would have a great time, and that's exactly what happened. What was my strategy? The same one that's worked for me so many times in the past - going straight into getting ready without thinking too much about it, and most importantly, not sitting on the couch!

What about you? What is it that you don't usually feel like doing, and how do you motivate yourself to get over it?

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