Present Tense

Let’s run away…..

running awayI was standing in the bathroom the other day drying my hair, when an idea hit me.  I’ve had some of my greatest epiphanies and revelations in the bathroom.  Doing something mindless allows my brain to wander down unbeaten paths.  I was thinking about a time years ago when I was between jobs. My husband and I packed up the car and headed west.

We had no real plan or agenda in mind;  just a general idea that we wanted to explore Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, so we grabbed the dogs and a few maps and wandered for about 3 weeks.  It was freeing and fun and undisciplined and as I mused about it the lightening bolt struck:  I want to run away from home.

There are so many things in life that can suck you dry.  Jobs, kids, marriage, parents, finances, health issues;  you’re not quite sure who you are or what you want.  It’s not a sign of weakness to admit this; it’s human.  It’s a sign that you’re about to grow.

Sometimes we need to walk away; to step back and break the monotony of ‘this is how we do things’.  We get up at the same time, drive to work at the same time, sit at our same desk, eat our same lunch, rush to meet our family obligations, plunk down in front of the tv/computer, fall into bed. And so it goes.

In the academic world sabbaticals are accepted and encouraged.  It could be a month or a couple of years, but your job is there when you get back.  What a fabulous perk, eh?  I have a great job, but I crave some time away;  away from the screwy morning radio hours; away from having to always have a perspective or an opinion; away from having to talk, talk, talk.

A sabbatical gives us a chance to check back in with ourselves. A chance to leave behind the rigid, soul-sucking routines that much of our lives can become.  A chance to re-connect with what feeds our soul or excise what doesn’t.  A chance to recharge the batteries of our passion and reassess our strengths and weaknesses.

I know it seems like pure fantasy; who can really just walk away from work to screw around and ‘find themselves’?  Not many of us and that’s a shame.  Imagine how much more productive we would be?  Nothing clears the mind and creates focus like getting away from the stuff that drives us crazy.  You can have the best job in the world, but there are times that you just want to walk away and regain some perspective on the rest of your life.  It’s nearly impossible to do that with deadlines, obligations, meetings, budgets or ratings banging at the back of your head.

So, let’s be practical.  Most of us can’t march into the boss’s office and announce that we’d like to take a couple of months off to recharge and come back as a more committed, valuable employee.  But, a girl can dream, eh?  Maybe it’s as minor as shuffling our routine, adding a walk at lunch time, changing our diet, committing to a good book in lieu of TV, spending more time with friends, saying no to an extra (and overwhelming) task.

Back to my earlier sabbatical years ago that inspired this post.  I left a great job and explored other opportunities for a year or two and then recommitted myself to my radio career and achieved greater success than I ever imagined.  Without that break, that time away to reassess, it never would have happened.  It was a big risk that paid great rewards.  Lesson learned.

December 4, 2012 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , ,

9 Comments »

  1. I guess its also good to VENT!!!

    Comment by Marsha | December 4, 2012 | Reply

    • You are soo timely that you have no idea. There are people like us that have been in the same field for 20 plus years. Do not seem to get those days, but it seems no one is looking for that anymore so the youngsters take their ciestas when they feel a tad bit stressed.Meanwhile the world seems to be crumbling around us. I need an Up North bonc fire for decompression.

      Comment by Tim Lankerd | December 4, 2012 | Reply

  2. I too get my best ideas in the shower. Also, this was a timely topic–oh how I want to run away lately! Sometimes life feels like nothing but logistics. A short trip from home sounds lovely.

    Comment by Heidi Jeter | December 4, 2012 | Reply

  3. My “sabbatical” just ended today with celebratory fireworks!!! This year I ended a serious relationship and got laid off. Only in looking back, I have realized neither one was all bad; in fact, the contrary. A lot of emotions to deal with, but so much growth as well. I have been out of a job for 5 months and it has been great, aside from the obvious worries. I feel fortunate to have lost my job, but only in the looking back do I realize that. Things happen for a reason. And ending the relationship allows me the freedom to move around without a dark cloud robbing me of my energy… but I only realize that in looking back as well. I have had the summer “off” to regroup and find a new direction for me. I can’t tell you how good it has been. In winding down this year of growth, I just found out today that I got THE job!!! Yes, I got the job I wanted. So I feel like, in some way, I have just had a 5 month sabbatical to regroup, rethink and start all over, all be it an unplanned and unexpected sabbatical. And now I get to start all over again, with a new attitude!! So yes Jane, I couldn’t agree more. Being able to step out of the rut, take a break from what we do, is a gift. Too bad we can’t afford that luxury of taking time for renewal by choice. Do you have any idea how much happier and much more efficient and productive people would be if they could take time off from life?

    Comment by Terri | December 4, 2012 | Reply

  4. Your thoughts are so spot-on! I believe you expressed the need most any person faces several times in their life. I feel the rumbling as day to day tasks fuel the fire beneath life’s pressure cooker! I hope it’s that, and not what I ate for lunch. Reading this was very timely for me as I contemplate writing the next chapter of my life. Take some time to reassess if my life and resulting actions still support my goals and values. Or, do I reassess my goals and values and change all accordingly? It seems the most “unhappy” people I know merely plod through life, day after day. They fear change, they fear the unknown – but they are so unhappy with the status quo! They would rather face an undesirable “known” than a potential for a wonderful “unknown.” its not easy at first! I was debating about taking time to do what you propose. your blog was very helpful!

    Comment by Mary | December 4, 2012 | Reply

  5. Even a short sabatical can be great! I run away for a few days at a time! However, this time of year, running away sounds like a wonderful idea! The commitments of this time of year can be very overwhelming-My husband and I joke around about ‘Skipping Christmas’ sometime-maybe will have to really plan it!!

    Comment by Debbie | December 5, 2012 | Reply

  6. Timely is putting it mildly just got moved to new salon and was thinking how great the new surroundings feel!! Thanks for post Jane

    Comment by marge beem | December 6, 2012 | Reply

  7. I always have it in the back of my mind that I am going to do something like this. I keep wondering if I can sell off all my worldly possesions and buy a one way ticket to Europe and just wander around. To be fluid and just go with the flow would be the experience of a life time coming from someone who has been responsible for too long. Even when I take a day off of work and just go around town, I think about all of the life that I am missing while I am stuck behind the walls of a cube every day of my life. Your post is spot on and I think that it just makes things clearer for me and that doing something like this is exactly what I need. Thanks for the right words at the right time. Now, I won’t go all crazy and just walk away from everything tomorrow, but I am going to start planning my escape (even if only for a little while) One of my friends is a travel photographer and she says that you have to pick a date and then work towards that goal and then your plans are more likely to become a reality. I am going to take her advice and make it happen!

    Comment by Terri | December 6, 2012 | Reply

  8. I plan to take a leave of absence from work some time but just have to make sure I have enough savings to do so. You are so right that we all need to take serious time away from work, sabbatical or whatever. I just got back from 6 day vacation, long enough to relax a bit but not long enough to truly be able to reflect on life.

    Comment by Jessi | December 12, 2012 | Reply


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