In no particular order and without much context, I offer some random realizations that have struck me thus far during my sabbatical.
- A ton makes me happy and they are often very little things.
- I have a vast amount of internalized homophobia to the point that sometimes just having someone accept me feels like an “ask” that I’ve made of them. I seem to constantly feel a step below others as a result and just happy to be able to be allowed around them.
- I am feeling ready to leave San Diego as a home base. I’m considering somewhere in the PNW or CO.
- I want to donate to specific organizations in a more formalized way. In particular, I want to donate more to organizations run by people I admire (Michelle Akers Horse Rescue & Outreach, Be Loud! Sophie Foundation, etc).
- I deeply value accountability having seen a lack of it growing up and this can cause problems.
- I genuinely like waking up early and greeting the day. I just need to learn to go to bed early enough to do so.
- I don’t actually need caffeine — a habit is simply that. It’s been nearly a month without any.
- I enjoy skipping across extremes particularly in interacting with my body (pushing myself to my limits then making an extravagant meal).
- I really enjoy my own company and, without work, am quite content. I can get derailed fairly easily though if I feel my efforts are needed in some capacity.
- I spend more trying to be better in some way than accepting myself. This is said without a positive or negative interpretation placed on it.
- I have a deep well of grit within me that I can lean on and trust. There are times when I amaze myself thanks to this superpower.
- My minimalistic approach has seeped into nearly every part of my life.
- I have learned how to do nothing and be happy :). This time last year that was a bit tricky.
Ultimately, this sabbatical is showing me how well I know myself and how on point my current life already is. In many ways, I’m just changing percentages around of the life I already live with the time previously given towards work being redistributed. I can now go hiking all day and wear my body out knowing I won’t have to use any brain power later. I can spend way too long cooking an awesome dinner and finding the perfect ingredients. I can go out of my way for what I think will be a great photo and spend 30 minutes too long taking it all in. I can sit with friends (or even strangers) and lose track of time knowing I have so much of it right now.
I thought it might be hard to let go of my intensity around work but it hasn’t been. It slid right off my back and the rest of my life took over. It’s pretty bizarre as I imagined I would have this constant itch to do do do act act act blah blah blah. Instead, I feel myself observing, soaking in, and capturing. The work I’ve done to cultivate other interests and to explore my own psyche is paying off thus far. If anything, I can feel myself being very soft and light in the world around me.
I’m curious what this will feel like when the plans I have made run out and the empty space remains. How will I feel then? What will be hard? What will be easy? What will I learn? I’m excited to find out and don’t feel any anxiety around determining whatever will be next. Ultimately, I see this sabbatical as just another angle with which to explore myself and the world around me.
Many years ago, I stumbled on this quote likely on Tumblr:
“The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson
I’m so glad I found it so long ago and could have time to practice the real meaning behind it ahead of this sabbatical. I’m relieved that aspects that I felt would be hard are proving not to be and that my mental preparation has helped immensely (mainly was concerned I’d get depressed rapidly or spiral with anxiety). Tied to this, I’m developing a really strong mental “third party” of sorts that helps me pause and reflect. As the sabbatical goes on and my brain is not filled with work, I’m finding this “other” within that’s much kinder, wiser, and lighthearted than the usual self dialogue I carry around with me. Here’s hoping I can continue to make this voice louder and more present — it’s still just as much me as anything else after all :).