I'm having a wonderful week off. Have an oversupply of paid leave that needs to be down to zero by Jan 1st, so I'm taking this week off, a long weekend early November and almost all of December.
Most of my week so far has been spent reading, cooking, and getting to a bunch of things I had postponed until further notice. I had been cooking more the last few weeks, but this weekend I got Ottolenghi's Simple as an early birthday gift so I got a pack with a bunch of exotic ingredients, made an extra grocery trip to get a bunch of veggies and declared Ottolenghi Week in our household. I've always liked to put something great on the table, but until last year that'd mostly been a handful of self-made or altered recipes from random sources. This year and especially the last week we've expanded our spices cabinet almost twofold and I love exploring new tastes and techniques and learning how to use them properly.
I started writing morning pages the other day. The only goal I have is to try and cathartically write how things are going and what's bothering me for five to ten minutes at the start of my day. I've been keeping a simple diary (did this, did that) for a year or two now but have never been very happy with it. This so far feels a nice addition to my morning routine. It helps me clarify and articulate my thoughts better. There is a markable difference between late-night tired worries and early morning, coffee/tea in hand worries, with the latter being much more important and worth thinking about. Since writing is a form of thinking for me I think this'll be a valuable new habit, not just in the short run.
Yesterday I realized which kind of contemplative mood I'm in. I always get contemplative when I am away from work for a while. I use the mental space I gain to endlessly ponder over bigger questions in life, as that's the only way I know how to deal with them productively. But it's always coloured by what's top of mind, and this week it's the woes of people in their thirties and early forties. Kids, building a family, thinking about what you've built up and what you still want to build up, that kind of thing. Devoured a book that was basically a collection of reflections and stories of someone turning forty, and I bought the game Eliza which has overlaps. It doesn't help that my mom is asking me out of the blue if we have wedding plans yet. Basically I'm looking for experience about settling down, while also realizing that I don't want to be gently coerced into doing so. Thus the need to figure out what part of that is for me and what part isn't. Put differently, I desparately don't want to be that friend of mine half brainwashed into wanting a mortgage equal her net salary in an overheated market, or the other friend getting a divorce because it just didn't work out anymore.