The joy of a random day off

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #123

A few weeks ago I decided to take Monday 1st of April off. There is an event I wanted to attend from 12-13:30 and at first considered cycling there and back on my lunch break from work or taking half a day off, but I didn’t feel like rushing. So I did something unexpected for me: I decided to treat myself and simply take the full day off, just like that;)

It feels so luxurious and wonderful that it makes me question why I don’t do this more often!  I am profoundly grateful for the privilege that I have (the confort of a fixed contract where I get paid leave that I can take without worry). Still, usually there are scarcity voices in my head, warning me that I should use my precious days off to visit family, to travel or that I should save days in case of some potential emergency.

Just anticipating this day off makes my soul feel delighted. Spoiling myself in this very simple way is like a deep breath of fresh spring air and gives me a feeling of prosperity. I’m thinking of making this a tradition for the 1st day of each new quarter:)

Pockets of downtime

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #122

As I type this, it is Friday morning on my blissful day off. It’s quiet and I don’t need to rush to work. I’ve enjoyed a slow breakfast and a chat, looking over a lovely bouquet of flowers towering in an improvised jug-vase on the kitchen table.  Ahead of me I have a peaceful creative afternoon with a dear friend, and afterwards a low-key weekend to process the past week, read, stare out the window perhaps, do a little writing and generally take the time to relax. I am grateful for pockets of downtime, tranquil moments to recharge in between the busy office days.

In celebration of free Fridays

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #83

I am deeply grateful for having every Friday off.  Today I am alone at home, the appartment is completely quiet, there is nowhere I need to be. I am enjoying a cup of coffee and I can slowly come back to myself and process the many experiences that string together to form every ordinary week.

Usually in the morning on my day off my thoughts are a-flurry, then little by little they calm down and new channels seem to open in mind, unrelated topics start to come together and ideas that hadn’t properly been worked through take on a new meaning.

Working 4 days in a busy office and then being off for 3 days is for me a much better balance and I can really feel the difference. I feel like I have much more time to recharge as an introvert and that gives me space to do things that are important to me, and in the end that is what life is all about!

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Fun things to do on a day off:

Sunrise walk

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For ages I’ve been meaning to get up early to enjoy watching the sun rise. Though sometimes I witness gorgeous sunrises as I cycle to work in the winter, it’s not like I really take the time to enjoy them to their full extent.  When we’re on holidays, Paolo and I do our best to see the sunrise, somehow it’s easier to get up at an ungodly hour when you know you can indulge in a leisurely nap in the afternoon.  However lately I’ve been feeling I want to experiment with weaving more of the fun things we give ourselves space to do in the holidays into daily life.

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So I decided to simply set the alarm at 5:30am on my free Friday, and after some inevitable snoozing, I got up and headed outside to enjoy the morning light as it appeared.  When I told a friend about it afterwards, she immediately asked ‘Where did you go?’.  Actually this time I kept the bar low and just went out the front door and into the neighbourhood, nothing fancy but it was perfect!

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I love being up and about before other people wake up, and it felt like I had the streets to myself. It was very quiet, with barely any cars or people, just lots of birds singing loudly to each other.  As I explored, I decided to be mindful and focus specifically on the light as its slanted rays started to shine on the peaceful world around me. I took my time and noticed what my eyes were drawn to.

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The most magical detail was the dew, one perfectly round drop hanging onto the tip of every single strand of grass, glistening in the sun. I’d never noticed that was what dew looked like up close, it was mezmerising! It is such a pleasurable way to start the day, I definitely want to do this again soon.

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Succulent inspiration

 

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #74

Nothing like a quiet Friday afternoon in the Botanic Garden to slow down and bring my attention fully back to the present moment. I am grateful that my dear friend Eva joined me today (we have a history of visiting other botanic gardens together, spending hours exploring the Hortus which is just around the corner of her house in Leiden and also on a trip to Glasgow:).

We had a great time in the warm green-houses, observing the succulents, cacti and other plants, pointing out to each other many amazing details from the wide collection and getting inspired by the colours and patterns.

Quiet morning off

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #42

Every second week I have the Friday off from work. I enjoy those Fridays even more than regular weekend days because I feel like I have this precious time for myself while the world around me is working.

Spending those mornings in one of my favorite cafés without needing to rush anywhere is bliss. I love watching the baristas at work, taking the time to reflect on the past week in my journal, observing other customers (I confess I also really like eavesdropping and hearing the most unexpected conversations)… I am grateful for these pockets of quiet time off to recharge my batteries.

More botanic beauty

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Recently I found out that there is another botanical garden in Amsterdam and it’s less than a 10 minute bike away from my flat!  So on one of my free Friday afternoons, in between 2 rain showers, I decided to go and check it out.

 

It’s free and you can just walk in, while volunteers mill around doing their thing. It’s a lovely place to relax and you don’t feel at all like you are close to the busy Zuidas.

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The collection of succulents and cacti both in and around the glasshouses is spectacular, with hundreds of different species in every single available space.

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Observing all the different plants, with their details and colours was a real pleasure as usual. There were very few visitors so I was undisturbed as I got in close to photograph the details.  I think I’ll be heading back there soon for some more inspiration:)

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Check out Botanic Garden Zuidas for the opening times (it’s near the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam Zuid).

Coming soon

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Friday I had a quiet day off work and could spend the morning transfering the baby plants into new pots. I will let them acclimatise for a few weeks and then they will be ready for new homes. I love the new colours below.

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