OK so this this time I’m serious – I am considering kick-starting a move to a slower life, and other opportunities – opportunities that I don’t even know exist yet because I haven’t thought too far into the future. I’m considering taking time off from my career at the top of my game, top of my earning potential, and walking away to something slower. Am I crazy to be considering leaving a great work team, to unabashedly take time to myself to figure out what I actually want to do in the second half of my working career? Can you consider this a mid life crisis or finally coming to my senses?
We’re talking of a long list of logistical possibilities right now within my family, and this seems to be a topic that keeps coming up as a theme in my life, every place I turn. The issue is, when I don’t have the time to consider what I want to do with the next 20 years of my life – because I am running from place to place – it’s hard to stop and ponder what the possibilities really are when my brain is already full. With my current commitments, I can’t figure out how to limit my work time, and slow down my off time, so I can figure out what to do in my next phase my life.
Admittedly this is a first world problem. To be honest, I’m also feeling a bit selfish, and a bit cliche. “Poor successful business person needs a break (boo hoo).”
Yet I’m not alone. Open any newspaper these days and you’ll find articles about how to find time in your day, how to consider taking time off, how to live the life you want – on less. In a society where, upon meeting someone, they ask you “what do you do?” this movement seems like a significant shift from societal norms of “work hard and achieve” or “stay with that company that will take care of you” which was taught to us, early in our lives.
For the last year, every time I open the newspaper, I’m drawn to the articles of people taking a career break, learning to live with less in smaller spaces, taking a risk and doing a complete career change. I’ve listened to podcasts about the F.I.R.E (Financially Independent Retire Early) movement (try Mr. Money Mustache), and any career coaching I can find (try The Life Coach). In fact, I’ve provided the same coaching for my kids, although I’m not always following it myself. For a long time, I have considered this notion of just walking away for a while. I’ve daydreamed about quiet days, less house maintenance, being in control of my day, enjoying the outdoors more. I’ve known I needed a break, but I haven’t had time to take one. Or rather, I haven’t taken the time. I’ve “felt” in my body that I needed a break. I feel it in my neck, shoulders, every time I go to work on a Monday wishing it was Friday. Seriously, wishing it was Friday? That’s a real bummer way to spend an entire work week.
All I do know right now, is I’m seriously considering this “adult gap year” thing.