Christmas time is long gone. All the parties and celebrations, all that food, drinks and meet ups with family and friends, they are all over. Life has gone back to normal. But there is something about these two coming months – January and February. To be honest, I never really liked them. Back in the days, when I was still a student, these two months meant exams, studying, panic attacks, trying to remember stuff that I will be forgetting the minute I get out of that exam room…
Nowadays, with the schooldays way past behind me, I still don’t like these two months. Maybe it’s because the weather is gloomy, rainy and cold. The days are shorter, and it’s already dark when you’re still sipping your afternoon tea. Well, needless to say, I don’t really like winter. And so, these two months are a time for impatiently waiting – waiting for the cold to be over and done with, waiting for spring and summer to be here and going back to feeling alive again. All the festivities that are held in December, stop abruptly on the 1st of January, decorations are dismantled without any warning. It feels as if you’re there, partying, having a good time, and all of a sudden, someone switches off the lights and tells you to go to bed.
What if this is the time to ponder about life?
This year, I am trying to look at these two months in a different way. What if this start of the year, with the cold, rainy weather and all, is a reason to stay inside, or go on some short walks in green valleys, and just think about life? What if this is the time to rethink what you’re doing with your life, and plan for the coming year? Being an obsessive planner, I kind of like this idea of spending some time to come up with goals for the coming months. Think about what went on during the last year, and what can make this year better.
In fact, I have already started making a list of what I need to do. Here are two things that are at the top of this list.
Do what makes you happy!
December, and Christmas, can be overwhelming. We need to buy gifts for others. We need to go to social gatherings to meet other people, old friends maybe, but also people who we might not get along with that well. All for the sake of Christmas and for coming together. And that can be exhausting for the mind and for the soul. So these two months can be a time to refocus on yourself. Do what you love the most. Be it reading a book on the sofa wrapped in a blanket, eating a piece of cake at your favourite coffee shop on your own, going for short walks, binge watching your favourite tv shows while sipping a glass of wine, going to parties and dancing the night away. Whatever tickles your fancy, just do it! Make the time for you. You owe it to yourself. It helps you grow, helps your mind rest and gear up for the coming year.
Go for long walks surrounded by nothing but nature… [Somewhere on the border between Germany and Austria]
…or read your favourite book [Photo taken by our own book expert, Maria]
…or just devour a piece of cake at your favourite coffee shop on a cold rainy day [photo taken at some cafeteria in the middle of Amsterdam]
Travel to experience, not to tick off a list!
Every time I plan to visit somewhere, I always make a whole list of things and places to visit. Be it museums, or historical points of interest. I always end up overwhelmed and exhausted at the end of the holiday. Which is not a bad thing. You usually only visit a place once, so you might as well see as much as you can and use your time wisely.
What if I told you that you don’t have to do that all the time? Last December we spent a week in Germany, visiting the famous Christmas markets. (Check out my previous blog post if you’re still feeling Christmassy 😉 ) But we spent the weekend before and after that week, in two different places, doing nothing. Okay, maybe not nothing. Let me explain.
So we started our holiday in a tiny village in Austria, called Lofer. It was basically like a ghost town. We spent ages going round, trying to find an open cafe to eat in. There were no museums, no special places of interest. We were in the middle of nowhere. And not having an agenda of what to see and do, made this weekend one of a kind. We just walked around the village, which was so beautiful, surrounded by mountains and with a river passing through it. This was purely the time off my mind was craving for. And it was worth it!
After spending a whole week market hopping in Germany, we spent the next weekend in Amsterdam. We met with our Dutch friend, and again, no agenda was prepared, except that we were going to party. So we bought tickets to a party for later in the evening, in one of the local clubs in Amsterdam, and let loose for the whole day. Hopping from one bar to another, you kind of feel like a local (although that might be because we were with an actual local!). It was a different kind of break than the previous weekend, but letting loose once in a while is always good.
We were too busy having fun to take photos during that weekend – sometimes it’s good to forget to take photos and enjoy the moment 😉 But here are two photos of previous parties, to mentally visualise the whole setting 🙂
Dj Tenishia in Malta [Photo taken by my Dutch friend, Gilbert]
Life & Death ADE, Amsterdam, Thuishaven [Photo taken by another Dutch friend, Jean]
Obviously I’m just telling you what works for me. Other people might prefer going shopping or eating in different fancy restaurants, going to football matches, and so on. The important thing is that you do what makes you feel alive. Sometimes we’re too caught up in a world where we are expected to make something useful with our time, all the time. And that makes us forget how to enjoy ourselves and do things just because! Ultimately, we need to take care of ourselves before we care for others. So why not spend some quality time on yourself and do what makes you happy?
And so, during these two months, while we’re waiting for the cold and the rain to go away, and come again another year, think about what you need to work on to be your best self. Whether it’s staying in, or partying like there’s no tomorrow, it’s up to you! Just find yourself and make this the best year of your life 😉
‘Some people get lost for so long, they forget what it was like to be themselves. Find yourself again.’