There are signs all around me that summer is waning: end of summer exhibition (CNE) is happening, first day of school and it’s getting dark earlier. September skidded in overnight. July was largely spent resting, re-learning that I didn’t need to be busy every second — relaxing counted as being productive and leaning into this unexpected sabbatical. So while July was an adjustment period, I started to hit my stride in August.
I’m Still A Morning Person!
August was the month I truly lost track what day it was. I’d wake up realizing it was the weekend because my partner wasn’t getting up for work. It’s an artificial construct we’ve invented. Yes, useful to a degree. It provides a rhythm to our days. Like the seasons did at one point.
In absence of having to conform to a schedule dictated by outside influence, a natural routine (for me) emerged. No matter what time I go to bed, I wake up at sunrise. In June, that means 4:30ish am. By August, I get to sleep in until 6-6:30ish! I savour the small pleasures.
Job – Thief of our time?
Not working also forced me to create my own meaningful reality with my time and choose what to do with it. This highlighted one thing, I want to change my perspective on my time I spend at work.
It wasn’t always like this but somewhere along the way, I’d be waiting for 5pm and the weekend to roll around so I can go back to the business of living my life. Also, get a bit of relief from stress. It’s not just me. I see so many people going through this. Kind of like we cease to exist from 9 to 5, where we’re suspended in animation and some of our precious lifetime is pulled out from under us. I get you have to do what you need to do. For some, working for money as a means to an end may be fine, but I need more.
I’m a fan of financial independence and if you want, retiring early. But reality is most won’t do that. So whether you do, or work until traditional retirement age, there has to be a meaning beyond just making money to survive.
What Does This Mean For Me?
I’m still working on this…
So far, it’s taking advantage of our financial security to curate contracts I take on. I’m learning to take a deep breath and have an outlook of abundance. I don’t need to jump at the first opportunity. I’ll be looking for contracts that have a better workload balance, interesting challenges and learning opportunities.
It also means when I’m in the thick of a project, doing a better job of keeping things in perspective when it inevitably becomes stressful. My job is a component of who I am, helping build skills, funding financial life goals. But they key is: it’s only one piece of the pie! All other pieces of the pie are equally important and tasty: hobbies, good sleep, exercise, travel.
Wow, from what I’ve written so far, you’d think August was mostly introspection. There was some but there was plenty other stuff too!
First, if you’ve read the few articles I’ve released the summer, gardening was a focus. This is tied to my yearning of deepening my connection with nature and learning to be self sufficient; not run off into the woods and live off the land self sufficient. More like having the skills to sustain myself beyond the veil of grocery stores. But more on that another time. It’s been nice to have so much time to focus on learning the first year I have an in ground garden. If you haven’t been following and are curious, I’ve written about setting up a garden and an update here.
Quality Time With Friends
It’s been a whirlwind of seeing friends we’d love to see more often, but can’t for a various reasons. Fun fact, some of those friends have come to visit from Europe, Dubai and Barbados! So needless to say, it’s been a ton of fun catching up. If a little hectic at times.
Iceland, Land of Ice and Fire
We certainly haven’t lacked traveling this year. We’ve traveled to see family in July, I had my first ever trip to warm destination, Barbados! Our big trip this year though: Iceland! And to make it extra special, for the first time ever we traveled with another close couple friend of mine! So this was a memorable trip on several fronts.
There’s no denying this island destination is expensive. A single pint comes in at about $20 CAD. There’s a number of things you can do to make it more affordable: using budget airlines, packing food to eat while away (avoid fruit), buying groceries that are local (i.e. not imported into the country) and staying at airbnb to name a few. Despite the cost of things, it’s totally worth the trip, and I plan on going back in the near future!
We explored Reykjavik, Blue Lagoon, Golden Circle and various other waterfalls and sights. They were all nice. But these two destinations stood out to me: Hveragerdi hot spring river trail and Glacier Lake/Diamond Beach.
Hveragerdi Hot Spring River Trail
This starts with a 3.5km hike uphill into the mountains. It’s hard work but you’re rewarded with great views and a geothermal hot spring river. After hiking up for an hour or so, that hot river is AMAZING! It’s kind of a choose your own adventure hot spring. Like it super super super hot? No problem, go to the end. Prefer moderate heat? No problem, head a little more towards the middle of the river.
On a good day, this is about a 5 hour drive from Reykjavik. Don’t worry, the trip itself is full of sights and extra destinations to check out. Even if you drive straight to Glacier Lake, the landscape is fascinating to watch on your way there. It changes drastically several times and it’s all breathtaking.
So there you have it! Month two round up of an impromptu sabbatical!
What about you? Any summer adventures, thoughts or questions you want to share? I’d love to hear them!