I catch up with T every now and then. T is married with a baby. The economy is slow and people like us are left jobless at the meantime. I am not worried as I have my reserves. I am sure T has his reserves too. After all, he is also in a marriage and he has his partner for income for now. T told me he has been feeling depressed because of the situation. He has let himself slide into the darkness and is unable to see the gift of time for now.
T is much older and there is only so much I can say and encourage. He is ok. But he is surprised by how positive I am with this hiatus. Our industry (advertising) is so stressful that we always work overtime and weekends when we do work. This hiatus is a blessing in disguise for me. I never had this luxury of time to do my own things, ponder, learn new things and indulge in my impromptu extended travels.
I believe everything happens for a reason, and we should see everything as a blessing even though it may seen dark. I want to share what I do everyday during this hiatus.
- Wake up naturally. I don't sleep well. I dream a lot and I sometimes wake up tired. My sleeps are always disturbed when I am stressed. So, reward yourself with rest. You are in no rush.
- Replenish your body in the morning. I don't drink coffee. It is usually a small glass of water in the morning, followed by my favourite herbal infusions. Depending on my mood, it could be chamomile, rooibos or something else. Why load your body with caffeine when you don't need it?
- Work out your day. I don't have plans unless I have errands to run or when I am traveling. Take time to do what you have always wanted to do. Go do the hike in the reservoir. Go to that restaurant not during the peak lunch hour. Go to the museums without the crowd. There are days I spend indulging in my tv series and movies. Yes, I do not go ape shit active everyday.
- Cook something. I love to cook. And I love going to the supermarket's produce bin to pick out reduced vegetables for my meals. If you are not earning, why not save a dollar or two cooking for yourself?
- Learn a new skill. I am a sucker for learning new skills. I have somewhat improved my bread making skills. I have learnt how to make noodles from scratch. I am going to make rice wine next. Oh, and of course this crazy one is learning how to forage.
- Read the titles you have neglected. I am not an avid reader. I find it difficult to read. It is a very intense activity for me, I visualise everything a read so I get tired quickly. This is the time to read and visualise as there is nothing else in your mind. I have read some good titles like 'The Time Keeper', 'The Lost Horizon'...etc. Don't pick nonsense to read. Read literature good for your soul.
- Travel, be it long or short distance. A lot of people want to save money when they are not working. I think this is a wrong move. You can curb your spendings. You will be surprise that I spend less when I am traveling in cheaper countries. When else will you get to spend a month somewhere? We usually have an average of 20 days of leave. There are also a lot of free things to do in your own city. And I am sure you have not explore every corner of your city too.
- Slow down. I was always rushing around when I was working. I needed to have my mobile phone or laptop next to me. I become a robot. Everything needed to be done as fast as possible just so that I can lay down for that couple of hours to relax before I retire to my stressful sleep. It is so important to slow down and be mindful. To appreciate everything you eat, breath or do.
- Back to nature. I don't get a lot of chances to be close to nature when I was working. Being overworked, I really only want to be indoors and near my bed over the weekend. This is the chance to breath in the fresh oxygen away from the city, and learn about a new plant or two.
- Add to your knowledge. I try to make sure I learn a new fact or two everyday. This does not only make you more knowledgable, you might even find a new hobby.
- Understand sustainability. It is the best time to learn about sustainability when you do not have income. You will be surprise how much more sustainable and resourceful you can be when you put yourself in the right mindset. Rearrange your wardrobe and discover new outfits, look into the depths of your drawers and you might just find some things you have forgotten.
- Re-access your finances. This is not something you should do on a daily basis. But it is definitely something you should have done way before. I have my reserves but it doesn't mean that they are working hard enough for me. Now that I have time to think about what I want my money to do for me, it is time to head to the bank for some adjustments. Do this and I promise you will not regret it. The interest can very well earn you a free lunch each month.