How did we get to the end of July already? Seriously! I have no idea where the time has gone. Being lucky enough to have the summer off, I should have plenty of it! I know time is like more space in a house, the more you have it, the more you simply fill it. More time doesn’t automatically equate feeling satisfied with how you filled it. What have you done with your warm weather so far?
More Time Doesn’t Equate Feeling Satisfed
I know I said this in the opening but this is a big point. Not a complaint but I felt like it was worth spending a LITTLE time on this. For those of you just tuning in, I had been debating on taking some time off. I was deadlocked in indecision whether to actively not renew my contract, when organizational changes naturally lapsed my contract at the end of June. So I figured, when will THAT crazy convenient timing ever happen again?! So it resolved my decision to take a summer sabbatical.
All Use Of Time Is Not Equal
Now that we’re all caught up, let’s get back to time. Thinking back on conversations, contemplation and blog posts, time has been on my mind a lot. I know most of us feel pressed for time, but that’s not quite what I mean. There’s a mortality thread to my thoughts, having enough time to do everything in life. Being surprised that the day is over before my wish list is finished. Even when I have a whole day to plan and do as I’d like. Some days, I feel like I’ve gotten more done with a few hours in the evening when I was working.
So what gives? Well this is a two part answer.
The more obvious is that not all use of time is equal. Quality over quantity… That type of thing. If you don’t have a plan, your time will pass either way. I did have a plan for my time. Like seeing family. The first week was spent seeing a whole lot of family in a short time; like micros bursts of quality time with many family members. It was great! I spent some time writing blog articles and going to the garden almost every morning. A lot of time though the past two weeks was wiled away napping or zoning out.
What happened to all the baking, extra blogging, painting and leather work?
Want Versus Need
The other part of the equation here is what you think you want versus what you NEED. I have been thinking of taking a sabbatical for months now, to decompress, slow down, de-stress. Catch up on sleep! My plan for my time was purposefully loose but I had failed to take into account what originally drove my wish for a sabbatical. Thankfully my brain and body did not. For once I wasn’t stubborn and went with it. I napped. I lingered in the garden. I rocked out to music. Zoned out on netflix.
Two weeks later, I’m finding myself breathing in and relaxed in a way I can’t remember the last time I did. My thoughts started to drift towards what I want next, I’m waking up with energy and some ambition for small plans.
So what I’ve learned so far, have a plan with your time. When you seemingly consistently miss the mark with what you wanted, consider whether there is something you need. And not just what you want.
If I’m Not What I Do, Then Who Am I?
Not a total surprise, there has been some discomfort with having all this time. We dedicate so much time to our careers, even if it’s our passion or we enjoy it, it’s easy to lose our identity without it. Even if your career is your calling/passion, I think it’s a good exercise to take a break and remind yourself you’re a sum of your parts. Not lose sight of the whole picture. That type of thing.
It’s healthy to get some perspective and see all the parts that make up who you are.
- It makes you a more interesting person. Gives you more things to talk about.
- Builds confidence. Remembering all those other skills, personality traits and other facets gives a boost to self esteem. Be amazed by who you are again without growing pains!
- Gives you an opportunity to grow. When you get a confidence boost seeing all that you are, it gives you the drive and courage to stretch yourself further. Gives you a glimpse of clarity that you can accomplish more.
Learning To Lean Into A Sabbatical
It’s taken a few weeks but I’m learning to lean into this summer sabbatical. What I mean by that is that I’ve discovered it can be really hard to do what’s best for you even if you have no obstacles. This may seem a bit over the top as being able to take a sabbatical is often a novelty.
For me, it’s been difficult to turn down interviews or queries for job opportunities from old colleagues. It’s a good problem to have, no argument there. I’ve been surprised the emotions this brought up
- Stress at turning down potential job opportunities. What if I can’t find one when I do want to work?
- Greed and selfishness. There are some that want nothing more than to get a job offer. Who am I to turn down an opportunity? Other’s have to work, what makes me special?
Clearly I overthink things. And while these concerns seem somewhat trivial — this is a good problem and nothing life threatening after all, I’m willing to bet if we generalize, this is a common struggle: having a healthy balance of putting your needs first and saying no. When was the last time you did something you’d rather not do to please someone else?
This is a work in progress. I’m working on learning to be kinder to myself and self care.
What have I done the past few weeks and what’s next?
As I’ve mentioned, there’s been awesome catch ups with family, gardening, writing, napping and general relaxation. As part of leaning into the sabbatical, I’ve decided to fully commit to getting the most out of my sabbatical. Including rest when needed.
There’s some traveling planned — more on that another time! Painting in parks, visiting friends, occasional writing in cafes or with a pint and making a leather a gardening tool belt of sorts.
Share your thoughts or stories in the comments!