Life seems to fall in place often without me even knowing the places it should fall into.
I’ve been on sabbatical to some degree now for a month and a half and yet maybe this is not really my sabbatical yet since school hasn’t started yet. Maybe this is just summer vacation like I would normally have. Regardless…I have no blueprint for how this time in my life should work.
I have read no books on taking a sabbatical. That’s my normal mode of operation. If I’m going to travel some place I read books about that place. Hence, I was sitting at a water park yesterday with a book on Canada in my hand 🙂
Weird side note…you might be my soul mate if you like to read guidebooks on places to travel to.
Anyway…I have not read any books on the subject of taking a sabbatical. I’ve not read any blog posts or subscribed to anything telling me what I should expect or anticipate or make sure I do or don’t do.
This is very uncharted water for me.
Sacred, take your shoes off, ground. Holy. Set apart.
None of my normal ways of taking on life or new challenges fit right now.
I’m becoming a student again, studying myself, trying to understand years of beliefs, thoughts, patterns and habits, ways of life and sorting through them to choose at this point what I will keep with me on the journey I have left.
I want to travel much lighter for the next forty years than I ever have before. Literally and figuratively.
The physical side has manifested itself in a recent desire to live in a minimalist kind of way. Today I will be finishing off my basement and holding another yard sale most likely this weekend. It is amazing to me how freeing it is to get rid of stuff!
But figuratively…I want to clean house too, in my mind, my heart and soul.
This is what I’m finding…I was made to focus on one thing and see it through to completion. I’ve just never really been able to do that in my normal life. Schedule didn’t allow it. Job requirements didn’t allow it.
I’ve been a HUGE multi-tasker and proud of it mind you. I thought it was me. I thought that’s the way life was lived best for me. Make the most of every moment type of thinking.
A month and a half into this sabbatical and I’m realizing it’s not me. Probably never was. Just a mold that I conformed to out of necessity. Which leads me to wonder how many other ways of life that I have thought were ‘me’ really aren’t…just my way of coping with life at the time.
Without me planning it…I’m noticing that month by month (keep in mind only one and a half months have gone by so far 🙂 I seem to be focusing in on one area of my life and really devoting myself to that one area.
In June it was biking, the physical side of taking on something I’d never done (Biking across a state). I’m not athletic, never have been. But I am strong and I can persevere.
I kept trying to set up a schedule in June to balance out writing, biking, and music lessons and what happened, without me meaning to, is I kept using my writing time to go for a bike ride because it was the cool of the day. I almost felt guilty about not keeping my schedule I had made on paper because I was sure it needed to be rigid since I had read about other creative people and how rigid they lived to make the most of the time. But in the end…I focused an unusual amount of time on biking and the subject of it. To the point where my oldest daughter said…”I don’t want to go into another bike shop for a long, long time.” 🙂
This month my music lessons have almost all fallen off. It’s July. It makes sense. Even my own two kids are taking a break. In fact, if I continue with this business as I hope to, I will probably make July a month off, as a break for everybody.
Our bike trip is done and the weather has been so hot and humid we haven’t biked much lately. Although, my youngest daughter did start and I plan to buy her a bike this month 🙂 The girls started homeschooling so the time to just go take a 3-4 hour bike trip hasn’t been quite as present. I’ve felt bad about this because…of course I feel compelled to continue hard and aggressive on the biking thing I guess.
But instead…what’s happened is, I’ve focused in on writing this month in new ways. Mainly what’s happened is I’ve become an eclectic reader. I have two daughters. My oldest listens to a huge variety of music, every style and type, I never know what’s coming next when she chooses the music for a road trip. Which makes the trip quite fun by the way. My youngest likes one or two styles but knows everything about those styles and I mean everything. She knows exactly who is in the group, who sings what part and can sing each harmony part that is in the song. She could tell you everything about those few groups and those few music styles. What’s happened for me reading wise is I just keep broadening the variety of books and blogs I read.
Yes I still enjoy some spiritual/deep thinking types of things, but I also enjoy humor, and blogs on writing and on minimalism and simple living. I also enjoy blogs on business and marketing. The list of blogs I’ve subscribed to this month would look like my oldest daughters play list for a long road trip, it’s extremely varied these days. And I love it.
As I read many different ways of viewing the world, many different styles of writing and thinking, my own thinking and writing are being broadened. I love thinking new thoughts. I love thinking about things in a way that I never have before. I love turning something over in my mind and seeing it from a different point of view. I love reading from all types of authors, all races, gender, religious views…I enjoy realizing how much all of us really do have in common even if we come from such different ways of life.
I tend to lean more towards emotion as I write. I write about what I’m experiencing and feeling most of the time. But I enjoy reading authors who are logical and cause me to view life from a thinking view point.
Some of you are married to your “opposite”. I was at one time. Being a widow, I’ve missed that part of life. I think it’s a beautiful thing to be exposed to people, writing, books, blogs that cause you to think through your own beliefs and ways of living and might even inspire you to make change.
It hadn’t really dawned on me until today…but this month, July…I know is single heartedly about writing and reading and thinking new thoughts.
I’m being challenged to try and figure out how to take my writing to the next level. What that even means. Publishing a book? Entering a writing contest? Guest posting on a blog? I’m not sure. But I know writing is at the core of who I am. It must be done. I can’t imagine my life without it.
I wonder what it would be like to actually receive some type of pay in this line of work. I’m not sure I can pull that kind of thing off. But I want to try. I want to push myself to go further than I have before. (Kind of like biking across a state….just writing instead 🙂
I already have a pretty good idea that August will be about the third component in my life…music lessons. It will be my time to put on a big push to pick up voice and piano students for the school year. I will need to market in every way I can think of and some ways that haven’t even occurred to me yet. I will also need to spend time studying and upping the level of my lessons. They are already excellent now…but I know I still have more to learn and more to offer to my students. My one lesson yesterday reminded me that I am good at teaching private lessons and it’s a worthwhile thing for me to pour myself into students on a one on one basis. So that will be what August is about.
And then in the fall…I think it will be figuring out how to combine all three of these areas, while parenting and keeping a home and being involved in my church.
I’m thankful right now that it’s ok for me to focus on one thing at a time. It’s allowing me to go deeper than I’ve ever gone before. What I’m finding is that in my multitasking life I was just scratching the surface, which seems incredible to me. I’m realizing there is so much more available for me to pursue and try than I ever dreamed before.
This is an exciting time in my life. I am so grateful.