On Sabbatical

Last week, I flew to Ohio for what I thought was going to be a short visit/tune-up. My quick trip turned into an extended stay and that extended stay is starting to sound like a sabbatical to me.

So, what am I going to do with this time that has been given to me away from the hustle and bustle of New York City?? 

  • Continue training for my half marathon. My younger brother ran a half marathon a few years ago and came in around 1 hr 45 mins (rude). I was aiming for under 2 hrs but now my dreams have changed (I’m competitive). Training is essential but I don’t like running outside when it’s below freezing and I get bored on the treadmill. I have 31 days and I’m going to be fine.
  • Help my parents. There is a reason why most “adults” do not want to ever live at home again. My parents and I have always had a great relationship but as we all get older (I’m never getting “old”), it has changed and coming back to live with them has presented a set of new challenges. For example, the old challenge was getting me to eat breakfast before going to school. The new challenge is recognizing that they cannot make me eat breakfast even if they think it’s what is best for me.
  • Focus on myself. What the hell does that mean? I’m not exactly sure. I think it means spending some time alone. Maybe I take up meditation again? God knows that was not happening for me in New York; something about trying to find peace/stillness in a city that is constantly in motion was really difficult but that’s just me.
  • Practice. It is so nice to come home and sit down at the piano. It is also incredibly annoying because all the pieces that I used to fly through, I suddenly have to think about. However, there are pockets of certain pieces that I especially loved that come back like no time has passed at all. I want to keep plugging away at the guitar and my ukulele is still in New York but will be joining the party shortly.
  • Write. A handful of people, who I trust (not exactly sure why), have encouraged me/told me/challenged me to continue writing. So that’s what this is- a response to a stimulus. Not sure what my writing will turn into and I don’t care right now. I just need to write. 
  • Read. I have a (very rapidly growing) list including: The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty, How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett, and It Takes A Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us by HRC (I did not finish What Happened and I am always the person who finishes what I start). I love reading and thank goodness for my mother’s library card because I read fast and books are expensive. 
  • Listen. 
  • Get a job? This will be a challenge seeing as how I have a significant amount of travel lined up in the coming months. If I were an employer, I would hire someone else. So getting a “real job” is sort of out of the question. However, I was out the other night (with my parents because I have no friends in Sandusky yet) and there may be some opportunity to help out with a catering company that is just getting started. Honestly, working a few catering gigs in middle America sounds a lot sweeter than a waitressing in downtown Manhattan. 
  • Travel. I fly to Florida in just over 2 weeks to be at the wedding of one of my oldest friends. How amazing is that? It certainly beats this fake spring happening in Sandusky at the moment. Also, weddings are fascinating and thought-provoking. Remind me to write on my experience post nuptial.
  • Cook. Ok, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. 
  • Slow down. I hate this phrase. I put it in the same vein as “one day at a time”. I’m supposed to embrace the present. Be “mindful”. Growing up, I never thought about mindfulness. It’s a word that I only recently became aware of and it’s really rocking my boat. I always want to think about what’s next. Why is it so hard for me to enjoy what’s in front of me? Is this why people go on sabbatical? Will I be able to reach a new level of mindfulness? First of all, I’m not even sure how you can measure mindfulness. Maybe it’s one of things that “we’ll never know”? I’m curious.
  • Unplug a bit. I found myself getting really caught up in social media/email/technology while I was in New York. It was starting to feel like I was being bombarded by a lot images/messages and it was overwhelming. I took time to clean out my email- that was a huge undertaking considering I’ve had the same email address since high school. I’m still using my smartphone and I’m still on social media but I’m trying to be more “mindful” of the time I spend attached to the screen. There’s that word. Can we call that progress? 
I am learning to love being on sabbatical. It’s a slow process because it’s not what I thought I wanted but it turns out, it is exactly what I need. 

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