Sabbath Year – After Two Months

The last three weeks have seen free time redirected to sorting, culling, packing, storing, transporting and unpacking. For the second leg of our sabbath year we’re putting our belongings into storage & relocating to the East Coast.

Moving always seems to be more work than I anticipate. I remember in college once thinking I could empty my half of the dorm room in time for a 6pm dinner, only to find myself finishing for a 6am breakfast instead. Between each move I half-forget the difficulty and my optimism returns.

This time I tracked where we spent our time – data is the surest cure for optimism.

(On the subject of data, I also took the opportunity to document every possession our family owns on a spreadsheet that includes 19 columns of details: purpose, size, weight, cost, would-sell-for, etc. I also did a bit of work on the topic of price-v-time efficiency of Craigslist vs garage sale vs donating for clearing out no longer needed items.)

On vacations I often wonder if the hours of transport to get to a destination are worth the relaxation obtained once there. Would it not be net positive for relaxation to just stay put?

During this move I have wondered the same thing. We hypothesize it will be worth the effort for many reasons that align with our sabbath goals, but during the upfront investment, the returns seem long off and uncertain.

Any move is a lot of work, this one presented a rather difficult packing/storing job. We had to decide what to bring with us on a trip that where the length was between 3 months and unknown, temperatures would range from 30-90*, my wife would change sizes (and thus clothing needs) from pregnant back to normal, our children would range from newborn to 4 years and all grow one to two sizes during that span. Not knowing exactly where we would be living for much of it also presented issues of which kids items to bring – high chairs, potty seats, cribs, etc. In total we fit everything into three duffel bags & the entire non-cockpit space of our minivan.

We spent our last day in Seattle (for now) as a family riding the giant white Ferris wheel on the waterfront the boys had admired every time we drove past over the past two years. Blocks away from my old office, we walked leisurely along the pier as I remembered it had been exactly two months since my last day at work.

Sabbath Year – After One Month

The first week of my sabbatical felt like vacation – something I would enjoy but return from. This was especially true because I was actually on a vacation – an out of state family reunion.

The second and third weeks were some combination of an extended vacation and extra long Saturday. We had a few trips – planned and spontaneous. When not on the road I spent a lot of time on important but non-urgent tasks I had been putting off for a few months – things like getting a recalled part of the car repaired or fixing/assembling items that had accumulated on my workbench.

One month in and a new normal has appeared. We have more of a routine and I have less of a backlog. Things feel like they have reached an equilibrium.

Being dual stay-at-home parents allows time to rest, but three children (and one in the womb) creates enough work to fill the better part of two people’s schedules. It does so in a less hectic way than before though. Where there was previously a full day of one-on-three survival, there are now more times for one-on-one bonding. We are each getting to spend time individually with each child. I’ve enjoyed introducing my eldest son to LEGOs, singing & laughing with my middle son and working on new words with my girl.

The pace feels slower overall. I went on a two hour walk in the woods this morning with my boys. We didn’t have anywhere specifically to go or really any specific time to get home – we were just playing in the woods to our heart’s delight until we ran out of food or energy. My wife was at home doing some housework and resting while our little girl slept. When everyone is awake we’ll go on a walk to enjoy the summer’s bounty. We’ve picked pounds and pounds of fruit from the local blackberry patches and neighbors with too many plums or strawberries to eat themselves. We’ve been eating cobblers like it is our job.

Things are good.

Sabbath Year – Day 1

It feels more like a Saturday than the beginning of a long rest period.

I no longer have access to my work email or any accounts – so I really can’t DO any work. My head is still filled with context though. I am still the most informed person on a number of projects I just handed off. So my guard isn’t totally let down as I know it is easy for someone to call or text me with questions. With time that will change though. The projects will progress and I won’t have project level context. Maybe at that point this nervous feeling will go away.