Five years ago, I took my first two month sabbatical when I moved countries, jobs and phase of life all at the same time. It felt luscious, light and liberating. I was looking forward more than looking back, optimistic more than pessimistic, excited more than nervous. Ah, youth.
In the five years since, I’ve grown more cautious, pessimistic and fearful about life’s big and small things. I’ve forgotten how to handle uncertainty well, forgotten to adapt, forgotten to even grow and change. All for good reason, a long adulting story for another day. But as much as I tried to justify status-quo to myself, my infinitely better better-half reminded me that challenge and change and people and relationships are good for you. At seventy, apparently that’s what you’ll look back at. Knowing how I’m challenged at looking even a few years ahead, I’m going to go ahead and take his advice (and well researched wisdom of the world here and here) on this point.
This time around, I’m going to try and change two out of the three vectors that I changed before. Hopefully, location remains the same. Job and phase of life are getting a kick in the butt. One without thinking, the other with. And that means, another transition phase, another sabbatical. Knowing what would make life changes bearable for me, B handed me an excel and a map, and said “go”. Only, I really wish he was coming too.
I spent almost all of the last two months planning and prepping for the next two months off. Waves of panic came and went. But it needs to be endured, at least to convince myself that nothing is the end of the world as I imagine it to be. The difference from the last time is that I’ll be coming back to the same place I leave, I have every single segment planned out, and I’ll be seeing a LOT of family and friends. Which are all new challenges in themselves, especially since I don’t have youth on my side like last time :) Ah, what worldly wisdom can do to you.
I wonder how things will turn out five years from now. Heck, even five months from now. As I try to cultivate a healthy tolerance of uncertainty, I’m pretty sure of one thing. I’d regret it if I didn’t take this sabbatical at this transition point. And for the privileged opportunity to take an unconventional step, I can’t be grateful enough to the fabulous family who didn’t bat an eyelid at it at all (and who handed me a map instead!).
Stay tuned, I hope I keep this space updated.
*sabbatical: usually used to refer to paid leave for employees, but here I take poetic license to use it to mean unpaid transition time.
Current itinerary: Bangalore, Switzerland, Spain, USA