The experts say it takes 21 days to instil a habit.  Today is the 21st day since I started writing my blog and I do feel like it’s taken hold and become a habit. 

I have a lot of free time on my hands these days and there are a couple reasons for that. I left my last job almost 5 months ago and haven’t been out looking for a new one as yet.  Our kids are all teenagers now and for the most part fairly independent.  That is except for the usual need for feeding, driving or acceptance of cash donations from kind and giving parents.   Lastly, Qatar is a land filled with conveniences all directed at saving time and more importantly, any effort.  Add it all up and the results are a lot of empty minutes in a day. 

I’m not sure when, where or how the work thing is going to start again for me.  In the meantime I’ve given some thought to what it is I actually like to do.  There are a lot more specifics but in rather general terms this is my short list:

  1. Spend time with my family
  2. Eat
  3. Read
  4. Write
  5. Exercise
  6. Get fresh air

The first one’s a no-brainer.  Nothing gives me more joy than being with my family and all they bring to my life – the good and the exasperating!  The second is not really optional but I will mention here how I do love to eat! (see goal #5)  The third, reading, has always been and continues to be a passion of mine, so it’s already built in each day. 

My goal then, is to concentrate on incorporating the last three more fully into my life. 

When reviewing my ‘work’ life, the most enjoyable experience I had was writing a monthly newsletter which formed part of a Health and Wellness Program I worked to develop for a previous employer.  I loved doing the research in preparation for it and I appreciated adding my voice to something I believe in.  If you read my first blog post “Pay Attention” working on long drawn-out tasks tends to bore me so blogging is the perfect outlet for my desire to write.  Plus, with a blog I can write what I want, when I want.  Well, I do have to be a little sensitive to the region where I’m currently living…..  So, the writing part is happening.

I’ve committed myself to regular exercise particularly since the start of the New Year so it’s also well in hand.  I have some specific long-term goals in this area but I’m hopeful in reaching them.

The last goal, getting fresh air, can be a challenge here.  My best friend back home always laughs at me because when I’m back in Canada I am forever commenting on how ‘fresh’ the air smells.  I suppose it’s because there are things like grass and trees and water around that help with air quality.  Here, I live in the desert and therefore everything seems so barren and sterile. There are two or three places in the city that are lush and green but other than that my senses are starved for anything that looks, smells, and feels somehow fresh! Or alive!

For the most part we live 24/7 in air-conditioning.  It’s in our homes, cars, workplaces, stores, restaurants, etc.  For the months during the year it is bearable to be outdoors, one of the easiest ways to get some air is to go walking.  However, Doha is not conducive to this.  The infrastructure is not built for it.  It’s also just not safe to walk here.  It’s difficult enough keeping safe on the streets of Doha inside your vehicle……outside a vehicle is just too risky!  And I mean at risk of being hit by a vehicle, not being at risk for some kind of crime like robbery, or assault.

Two months from now the temperature will be too hot to be outside so I’m trying to pack in a mega-dose of fresh air each day.  Which I do by exercising over at Aspire Park in the morning. 

Aspire Park - trees, grass and water no less!

When I first moved to Doha I was always operating at top speed.  I walked fast.  I worked fast.  I couldn’t understand why everyone just pottered along here.  The pace of life here rambles along at a much slower speed.  Everything seems to take forever (yes, that part still holds true even with all the changes taking place here). I’ve since learned to slow down a little which I think is a good thing.  By moving so fast, chances are I miss a lot along the way.

For each of my goals I will work towards them slowly, or  “Shway Shway” as they say around these parts.