Pretty much everyone I know has asked me what I am doing with my time off. Fair enough, it’s a little different for someone to not work, go to school, or have children. It’s like I’ve taken a short retirement at 25.
I’ve been trying to spend my leave of absence time in ways that may not appear to be productive to other people, but that are important to me: basic life skills and habits I was too busy to work on when I was working.
How I’m Spending My ”Retirement”
Cooking – I’ve never been much of a cook, but I’m learning to find joy in feeding my family. I really want to be able to make simple pleasures like lasagna, French toast, and chocolate cookies from scratch without a recipe. Having the grocery store on our block doesn’t hurt, but I’ve found that the best way to pick up this skill is to just do it. Plain and simple: cook every day, enjoy the times you succeed, and have a good takeout place on speed dial for the times you fail.
Exercising – If the grocery store – the means to cook – is close, then the means to exercise is even closer. Across the street is the world’s best yoga studio. Our building has a rarely-used but fully equipped gym in it,and there is a running path along the water ten steps from our front door. The only obstacle to me getting regular exercise is lack of motivation, which usually only gets the best of me once or twice a week.
Writing – Writing every day is my way of reflecting on and absorbing what I’ve seen and experienced on this trip. It is also very time consuming (for me), and requires dedication. Just like cooking, the only way to improve writing is to write. I’ve been writing a journal, writing a blog, writing a book. Writing could be a full-time job, I love it.
Reading – Once again, I’m trying to read a book a week for a year. This time around is a little easier. Reading helps me with my writing, my relaxing, and my learning.
Knitting – This is something that I am trying to learn, with my newfound free time. It’s hard, I keep making mistakes, and yet, I am creating. If anyone has great knitting resources, please share them! It’s hard to learning to knit on your own…I wish my grandmother was here to teach me.
I get pleasure out of doing these basic things, and I can fill my whole day with them. They make me feel human, self-sufficient, and healthy. This mini-retirement is flying by, and this is how I’m choosing to spend it.
What would you do with six months off?