JOYFUL GRATITUDE #142
Sometimes you just need to conjure up your perfect holiday… Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending three days with my good friend Eva in Wageningen, where we rented a yurt:)
We had no plans other than to relax and we were very successful. It doesn’t hurt that we had this gorgeous space all to ourselves. The soothing roundness of the space with its wooden beams leading up towards the skylight, a basic kitchen to cook our vegan sausages and other treats, a tap outdoors to do the dishes while the sun warmed my legs, a tree to read and play games under, progressively moving our blanket to remain in the shade, feeling the humidity come up from the earth as the sun set, being able to see the stars in the night sky…
Every evening we chatted whilst looking into the flames of the wood-burning stove, feeling the heat on our bodies, tired in that lovely way that comes from spending all day outside.
It felt like true luxury to have our own garden and be able to eat leisurely meals outside, feet in the lush grass, next to a patch of colourful flowers. Enjoying all this green and fresh air, as well as our chats about creative plans and laughs, recharged my batteries immensely.
Last Friday, on my day off, I gave myself a wonderful gift. It didn’t cost any money and I didn’t even need to leave the house. It was a grey rainy day outside and I knew I had an intensive weekend ahead, so I spent a large part of the day just lying on the sofa, reading.
I let myself be swept into the characters’ lives and was completely absorbed in another world for hours, while totally ignoring my real-life to-do list and not feeling like I needed to stop reading to do something more important. It was wonderful and it recharged my batteries much more than ticking off items on my to-do list ever would. I plan to do this again soon. Here’s to giving ourselves permission to relax and recharge in whatever way works for us, regardless of what still needs to be done!
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #39
There are those magic days where you travel to another city to meet with a friend for no other reason than to go and eat scones! Hooray!
Then you explore the tiny, well-kept streets overflowing with plants, and somehow later find yourself sitting in the sun for hours, enjoying vegan delicacies and talking about ‘everything and nothing’ like we say in French:) One topic leads to another and you start reminiscing about the books you read (or didn’t read!) as a teenager – Adrian Mole’s diary, Watership Down, ‘Fucked up youth’ (??, so curious about that last one;).
So grateful for the simple pleasure of good company, tasty food and lots of laughs!
When I found out that I am an introvert (I think I was about 30), it was a real a-ha moment. I had so often wondered how other people managed to spend so much time in groups or hanging out with other people, when after a couple of hours of socialising the only thing I felt like was heading home to chill alone with a good book. I often felt like there was something wrong with me.
Basically being an introvert simply means that spending time with other people drains your energy, and spending time alone allows you to recharge your energy. It was such a relief to find out that I’m not flawed. Knowing that I am an introvert has helped me to just be myself, and also I’ve become much more conscious of protecting my downtime by myself so that I recharge and save my energy. The best comparison I read is that as an introvert you are like a computer battery, you have a certain amount of capacity to interact with others, but once it is empty you can’t be social again until you recharge.
It’s definitely a learning curve as I spent most of my life feeling like I constantly ‘should’ want to be more social. Nowadays I can recognise my physical need to relax in order to process a busy day at the office or a social weekend with friends. I am practising saying NO a lot more to invitations (a part of me often wants to go but if I feel another part of me pulling back and thinking ‘this is too much, I actually just want to chill’, I do my best to listen to that voice). I try not to make too many social plans, especially when I’m using a lot of energy at work. But I do actively plan time alone to recharge (going for walks, naps, journalling, reading or daydreaming:)
A wonderful book I would recommend (for both introverts and those around them) is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. She writes really well on the common misunderstandings about introverts, how the world should pay more attention to them and how to carve space for yourself in our world as an introvert.