1. Why decide for a sabbatical?

There are two questions that I was asked the most when I announced I was going to take time off. Why did I want to take a sabbatical ? What was I going to do in that time? Several people expressed they thought  I was really brave. It felt more like giving up for me. Many said they were going to miss me and wished me all the best. To be honest I only had partial answers and felt I was going to find out once I got there.

Making the decision felt very difficult and at the same time the only right thing to do. I had been working for the same company for nineteen years.  Working in different locations in different countries. Always having very interesting jobs and great opportunities for advancement. I was not unhappy, but felt stuck somehow. Stuck in my ambition and passion for what I did at work. Spending too much time. But not enough time to do anything right. Stuck at home, because issues started piling up and whenever I had time to relax I was too tired to meet people or do anything I liked. Seven years ago, after my husband died, I had made myself the promise to take the time off whenever I felt is was right. Was now the time?

Just thinking back to the time I became a single mum (I hate the word widow) with a more than full time job and a 5 and 7 year old, everything seemed so much clearer then. I knew how I wanted to take care of the children, what was the best way for me to stay healthy so I could take the best care. And included in that was staying on the job. Continue doing what I liked and was good at and working with the people I enjoyed working with. Off course several adjustements had to be made, but it was clear which ones and it was absolutely no problem to stick to them. Apart from the grieve I was happy and felt everything was in balance.

How much time would I need to get that clarity again? It was clear that the more time I tried to create to figure this out during the job, the more unclear things became. Was was feeling this way because of a reason and I was looking for explanations. But all that had happened in my life and all that was on my path now seemed to get so comingled in terms of feelings, reasons and impact. How was I ever going to get that clarity of mind of what I wanted to do, how I wanted to live and how to best take care of my family? So why was it so difficult to take the decision?

On that monday morning I walked into my bosses’ office with my coat still on. I was determined to drop the bomb first thing, so that I would not talk myself out of it again. That was also the beginning of being emotional at work. And I hate that! Never mind, I did pull through and laid out my decision. We agreed I would talk to several more people to get clarity of mind on what I really wanted. And there it was, the decision to hand over this exciting and very interesting job, which really was a good stepping stone to a future career move. The plan to take six months off with an open view on what I would do when I would return. I really did come back on my commitment to do this job for four years, after only being at this location for a year and half. Leaving behind a great journey with spelled out change plan for this organisation, which I had started and a bunch of really great people.

One month in I do know the answers. I am taking a sabbatical to find my core, to get centerred on what is important to me and what I love to do. What I am going to do is to create the space to grow that understanding. Ultimately I want to find the strength to let my heart tell me where I am heading. To have my heart as my compass, my guiding star showing which direction to take.

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