As I am typing this, I am savouring my last few hours of leave. One particular week in October, I was feeling particularly worn out from work, and that was when I decided to take ten days off in December. I had no plans to go overseas, and no one close to me had time off either, I just felt like I really needed a break.
I was really determined to make the most out of it. I wrote lists and schedules, and even though people might think, "Why are you planning out your day while you're on holiday? You're supposed to do whatever you want, whenever you want!", I am so glad I did. I have already wasted so many days waking up late, then being overwhelmed with all the things I wanted to do and ending up doing nothing at all. This time I made sure that didn't happen!
Here are some things I am so happy to have done or discovered in this last 10 days:
#1: Ran 5km without stopping
One day, I was wondering around my neighbourhood (the joy of having so much time on your hands) and I discovered this green, leafy trail with people cycling, jogging and walking their dogs. It was so beautiful I walked the whole track, and then when hubby got home, I told him I wanted to go for a run on the very same track. We went around and got a little lost in between, but I managed to run 5km (5.27km to be exact!) without stopping. You wouldn't believe the number of times I've gone for a run with hubby, only to quit halfway and walk home first, or have him overtake me by a lap or two. He was very proud of me, and I was very proud of myself too! So this is what it feels like to work towards a long term goal. Can't wait to do it again!
#2: Got a fringe and perm
Something in me has always longed for change, be it image, attitude, or life, in general, but I'm usually too chicken to do anything. This time I decided I was going to change my whole look by getting my hair done. I have never permed or dyed my hair before, in fact, I think I've always had the same hairstyle since I was 13. So I booked an appointment, showed them a picture of Chloe Bennet as Skye in Agents Of Shield Season 2 and took the plunge. I love, love my new hair! Somehow, it's making me feel more refreshed and confident.
#3: Discovered the joy of dining alone
I've always shopped alone, but never eaten at a café or restaurant alone. I have to admit, the first time I did it (at Mr. Pilgrim) I felt quite nervous. I was a little embarrassed, "What would people think of me?" but then I realised it didn't matter. The experience was quite liberating. Of course I enjoy other people's company when I am eating, but this was a different type of experience altogether. I ate a light meal and sipped on some chai with sometimes a novel or a notebook in my other hand. I felt like I had so much room to think!
#4: Discovered more of Melbourne city
I admit, I've always been a suburb kind of girl. I used to avoid going to the city because I thought it was so crowded and messy. But this time, I decided to explore the city that I have been living in for almost a decade, as it is the world's most liveable city after all. From gardens to independent bookstores to quirky shops to historical buildings, I found myself falling in love with the city more and more.
#5: Went crazy with shopping
Not crazy, crazy, but definitely not as inhibited as usual. Is it just me or are the pre-Christmas sales better than Boxing day sales? I got lovely dresses, tops and skirts from DFO, several books from random bookstores, things for the home from craft markets and retail shops, and a few other nerdy items that I will share once I receive them in the mail! I did less damage than expected but still, no more shopping for me until after Christmas!
#6: Felt inspired
Having the time to think about things I really cared about and what I wanted to achieve, without the stress of work (it took a few nights for me to stop dreaming about work) really made me feel inspired. I am now more motivated to be more productive and more creative, and most importantly, happier. I have started working on something which requires a lot of hard work and patience, but each step I have taken excites me and I can't wait to see how it unfolds.
I feel like I've learnt many important lessons in this short holiday. There is always more knowledge for you to learn. 'I don't have time' is not a valid excuse. You don't have to be extravagant, fly to exotic places, stay in luxurious hotels, or eat at fancy restaurants to have a great holiday. You can find happiness and beauty everywhere, you just have to look. If you feel like you're stuck in a rut, do something about it, change doesn't happen without effort.