Talking with people who have taken a career break, they reported they feel the first couple weeks are just like being on vacation. I can’t argue this point, as my first couple weeks went by pretty quickly. I thought about blogging, but didn’t really have much time to write. My original thought was that I would wake up those first few days in a fog, and not know what to do with myself, and although there was a little of that, I had plenty of pent up tasks to take care of so I have had no time whatsoever to consider long term planning on a large scale yet. In fact the fog I was under before while working and trying to keep up with everything is gone. Just the other day, during a blue, sunny day stroll around the neighborhood, I was singing to my husband, the Johnny Nash song “I Can See Clearly Now”. The lyrics go….
I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
I’d like to report I have some clarity, or full direction where my life will take me. I don’t. Sometimes that scares me – I mean after 2 weeks, shouldn’t I have direction? Or should I just be enjoying that I’m open to whatever opportunities come my way. To be completely truthful, I have given little or no time to thoughts of maximizing my sabbatical time off, or reaching the next stage of exploration for next steps of looking for my next opportunity. I’m happy exactly where I am. I get auto-generated emails of job opportunities, and I simply delete them. I’m not ready yet to look.
One thing, though, is my final tie out of my last paycheck. That one was bittersweet in a way. While I recently lamented that those paychecks wouldn’t be coming in anymore, of course my alter ego (my husband) was celebrating that it’s ok – we planned for this, and we knew those checks were not going to come in – and aren’t we lucky. I quickly got over it, but truly, for years I measured my success, worth, and contribution to the family, based on that paycheck. Making that mental shift that I will be contributing “differently” in the future was not shocking, just clarifying.
The most important part of my day is my daily walk, and it has been so important to clear the fog in my brain. I’m reading a book “Reboot Your Life” which has been enlightening. The book has been great with stories of others who have taken a career break – anyone from artists to CEOs. They talk about the first 30 to 60 days being a time of clearing out the fog, getting organized, and pretty much doing what makes you happy. “Time alone, time caring for one’s physical and mental health, time with friends and family, spontaneity, being in the moment, reaching out to help others, exploring, learning – these are all the pieces of the natural threads of a sabbatical quilt, the pieces of the sabbatical dream.” That’s about where I am. I don’t have a set daily schedule, I’m taking care of the most important things first, and slowly I am reaching out to expand my new network – one filled with book club, walking friends, yoga, volunteering, and possibly considering part time employment at some point. And, training for another sprint triathlon (FOMO and peer pressure induced.)
I’m thinking I have to get a regular schedule going though, so more to follow….