I took a chance… I decided to take a sabbatical from work for six months – maybe one year. This is my gift to myself. It started with wanting to help in the care of my parents. Mom had leukemia, Dad’s physical abilities were fading. They live abroad. I wanted to be with them. I wanted to help my brother and sisters. I couldn’t leave work for weeks at a time every other month so I decided to take the chance. I had fantasized about taking time off so many times before but this was a strong enough reason to research the process.
Do you think of doing this? Would you do it? Have you asked yourself? What would you do? Here was my thought process:
- I had worked hard, had an established career, worked with my company for 11 years, in the industry 30+ years. It was established – I was of value. I was a good employee, loyal and appreciated by other employees, management and my clients. As well-aged employees, this is a benefit we bring to our employers. I approached my management knowing in my mind that “I’m important to you, can you grant me time to re-group and when I return, I’ll be revitalized and better than ever!” I had the confidence in my worth and was prepared to ask.
- Can I live with less for three or six months? My kids are grown, I’m not funding ALL of them any longer. Some are out of the house, some are still in school but I don’t have as much outflow, I was saving more. I splurged more on myself – bought the shoes, dined out more, had the $5 lattes, took more weekend getaways. I can live with less. I can use my savings to fund my time off rather than take that spring break trip, wait to buy that car. I re-worked the budget. Its surprising to know what you truly can live with and live without at this stage of life.
- Ask yourself: What will the benefits be? What will I regret if I don’t do it? Will my spouse support my decision? Journal about it, make a list of pros and cons. Weigh the choice of doing something while you are able versus when you are not as physically agile. Think about doing something while you’re very alive and healthy versus waiting – the possiblity of becoming ill, an unexpected tragedy, a family setback can all take this possibility away, they can occur in a moment. And yes, this can happen while you’re on sabbatical too. Make sure you have your insurance in place!
Its worth the journey to explore this possibility of a sabbatical. We’ve worked all our lives – whether in a career or raising a family, maybe we take a break and breathe for ourselves. And realizing now is not the right time is also a good answer. The exercise allows you to perhaps rethink how you are living now and perhaps build a sabbatical into your future goals. Its all part of living a well-aged life!