I do not think there is anything as satisfying as meeting up with friends after a long day at work. The contrast between what I am obligated to do and the leisure activities I am free to engage in makes my time off so much more enjoyable. To sit and chat and not have to be somewhere at a specific time or to watch the clock is such a relief.
I am not a big vacationer; I prefer to be more spontaneous. I would rather stay closer to home and venture out as the mood moves me rather than plan a trip a year out in advance. Regardless, I enjoy seeing the photographs of other’s journeys. I can sit for hours listening to the vivid details of their stimulating travel experiences, taking vicarious pleasure in hearing about their annual event.
I like to get up early before I am expected at work and take advantage of my time. There is something very sacred about the hours before I show up in my professional environment. It is my time to do with, what I like. I set my alarm clock early, and I follow a schedule that I map out a week ahead in my daily planner.
Each day, I try to enjoy some action that makes me feel as if I am living fully beyond the world of work. It does not have to be something spectacular, it can be just reading a couple of chapters from a book or taking a long walk before I come home and shower, get dressed, and arrive at my desk.
Many times I have a picnic during my lunch hour. I treat myself by packing a basket full of my favorite foods. I drive to a picturesque spot and turn my car engine off and the radio on, and take in the best part of the day.
When I return to my workplace, I am completely refreshed and the few hours left seem to race quickly by. Before I know it, my workday has ended and I am on my way out again.
If I am having a difficult time at work, I plan to stop off at a favorite friend’s house before I return home. Being near a person I think a lot of and like spending time with, reminds me that there is more to life than merely fulfilling my duties at the office. Since I have no family of my own, being around someone else’s children or relatives makes me feel as if I am part of their family unit.
I treasure every minute of my weekends. Saturdays are when I head off to the open market to purchase fresh produce for the coming week. I have a special breakfast place I have been going to for years where I check in afterward.
It’s great to walk in the door and be welcomed by a sea of familiar faces and hear the proprietor behind the counter call out my name. I always order the same dish and the leave the same tip for the waitress whose life is sometimes more interesting than my own.
She always has something upbeat and positive to share. I leave the cafe and run a couple of errands before I go home and take an afternoon nap. When I awake I spend a couple of hours doing household chores before getting ready to go out.
Saturday evenings in the late spring or summer months are always so memorable. I grew up on the water so being inland where the weather stays warm at night is fantastic.
I like to take drives with the top down after dark and tour the abandoned streets of the city’s financial district, just looking up at all the towering office buildings or cruise alongside a nearby lakefront area.
I plan a dinner out once a week; I will often dine alone or meet my husband at a local restaurant. Pasta is generally what we order but occasionally, I find a new place and we try a more eclectic meal.
Sundays are all about relaxing. We may decide to attend a church service, work out at the recreation center down the block or take a bike ride before everyone else has gotten up and it becomes too dangerous out on the road.
Most of the time, though, I will quietly crawl out of bed and head to the coffeehouse down the street, stand in a line up for the first batch of hot cinnamon buns they make and order a cappuccino to go.
I return home with the Sunday paper and get back in bed where I remain for another hour or so luxuriating. We usually set a table in the backyard and linger for a couple of hours over brunch with the couple next door. We make it a potluck, so I do not have a stack of dishes to do afterward.
I think that Sundays are great for going to a movie or shopping. The last part of the day is when I begin to prepare for the next week. By late afternoon I am ready to cook and serve up a light supper.
Around sunset my husband and I go out for a stroll down a tree-lined street close to our house and we take our dog with us. The sky is usually spectacular at this time of evening.
As the darkness descends, we retreat back to our home and I stretch out on the sofa and turn on the CD player. I pass the remainder of the night, either listening to a good piece of music, reading, or watching something compelling on television.
It has taken me years to fully appreciate my time off and to fully live my life. For years I struggled to maintain my career and my business concerns.
I still have to work at maintaining an even balance but as I grow mature, I have learned to respect my leisure activities and all the little moments that make it what I do when I am not working, so special.
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