It’s Friday! For some it’s the last working day and you’re looking forward to the weekend. For us in Arabia, the weekend is already in full swing. It’s chill day, kids play while mums chat day, brunch day, friends by the pool day, lunch or dinner with family or mall crawl day. Today, for me it’s lazy breakfast in Meesh Cafe, walk and photograph things that catch my eye, then go with the flow day. Because Qatar is an Islamic country, most people get all or part of Friday off. If you get out and stroll around the city as I’ve been doing this morning, you get to contrast a busy weekday with Friday. The change of pace is refreshing. Embracing the peace of Friday is a great way to reset, recharge and recover from the grind of the working week chaos. The lull lasts for most of the day but it’s most obvious in the morning. You can meander across even the busiest of main roads safely at tortoise pace and drive to even the furthest parts of the city with no problem at all. It’s the time you see the salaam, or peace of the well known Arabic term.
Some people find the fact that things are closed for some time until later in the afternoon due to the Friday prayer a bit of an inconvenience. For others it’s a welcome break. Life in Doha can be pretty hectic. Whether you are single, married, with or without kids, the speed and level of activity here can be exhausting. By choice or by force, it’s great to just press pause and take a deep breath. This is why I love Friday mornings in Doha.
Being here in Doha has reminded me of something that I have at times lost track of in life, there should be at least one day when you are resting. As a child I grew up in a “Christianish” environment. We were told often that Sundays were a day of rest. For kids, we knew that for us it just meant no school and more playing. So we embraced it. When I got into the swing of young adult life, I scoffed at the idea of a day off. I felt that life was about moving and doing all the time. Now I appreciate time for balance, days off, public holidays and lazy weekend days. We need periods when there’s no money to make, bills to pay, deadlines to meet or schedules to stick to. Days to just chill are good for the mind, the body, the spirit.
Whether you’re religious or not, days off are good for the soul. Perhaps that’s what all the world’s religions were trying to tell us all along. It’s not about being forced to be religious, go to a building to do any obligatory acts or put on a show. It about resting, recharging and re-balancing. How about finding your centre, stating intentions for the coming block of time we call the week and reflecting. Days of rest are about finding peace and reconnecting with peace. As is said every week here in Doha, Jummah Mubarak! Literally translated it means Happy Friday! What more is there to say?