Back from a well deserved break

After taking last week off, I resumed work today. Because I still had 26 days of leave remaining for the year and had to use all of them before it ends, I booked a week of holidays without any planning. The break from work, especially after the recent hectic weeks, was a welcome change. And although I wasted the first few days on Discord and reddit, I eventually relaxed in the more pleasurable activities of reading books and watching films.

I saw Passengers yet again. I am not equipped to review films objectively, and so at the risk of being ridiculed I admit to loving Passengers. I am fascinated by how the film depicts the despair of people who are condemned to a prison of time and solitude. Also, the characters of Chris Pratt – who “used to be chubby”, P reminds me – and Jennifer Lawrence – “she’s not all that”, P also says – had me completely engrossed. I disagree with the reddit opinion that the plot should have been darker—but I also admit my bias for romance.

Amazon Prime then started suggesting to me the Hunger Games films. I had watched the first one a long time ago and had not been impressed. After seeing Jennifer Lawrence in Passengers, however, I gave Hunger Games a chance. They were entertaining, yet not deserving of all the hype. Still Lawrence retains my new found appreciation.

Over the last couple of months, I had been reading three books: Line by Line, a book on English grammar; Writing Solid Code, a book on programming; and Crossing to Safety, a novel by Wallace Stagner. I wanted to finish Line by Line quickly because it is the type of book that easily falls to the wayside if it loses the reader’s attention; I am glad I completed this goal. I also finished Writing Solid Code, which was always going to be a slower read, the ideas in it requiring careful reflection.

Crossing to Safety gets special treatment. I am deliberately taking my time to read it—I might actually have been at it for longer than two months. Although it is a short book, it tells a great story, has interesting characters, and is very well written. I continue to savour it a few pages at a time every night in bed.

This week, I also made some small lifestyle adjustments. I removed the company’s Outlook and Teams apps from my phone. Without those, I have to start the work laptop if I need to see my work calendar. But I think setting boundaries in this way is good, especially now that home is also the office. I uninstalled the reddit and Discord apps, realising how much of my time they had taken. I then subscribed to several long-read blogs, which – goes the theory – should fill my freed time with more reading.

Altogether it was a decent holiday. I disregarded work, ate out, ordered take-aways, read books, watched films, and made life adjustments. I am now filled with new vitality to tackle the last few weeks of this long year.

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