Yearly Focus

Sabbath Year – After Twelve Months – Immediate Thoughts After Concluding

I suppose the contrast between the last day of the sabbath year and the first day of the next year doesn’t have to be so stark. In this case it was.

I found myself solo-parenting four children in a house I had moved into less than one week before. Most of our things were still in boxes and the upstairs bedrooms were hot and bright as daylight lasts until 10pm in Seattle during the summer. So we pitched tents in the basement and had a campout.

Between settling into a new house, working and parenting, there isn’t much room for anything else these days. This might be the new normal.

In retrospect, we should probably mark the start and end of sabbath years with a big celebration of sorts. A feast or bonfire maybe. I’ll write that idea down for next time.

I will do some deeper reflecting soon, but I wanted to pause and capture our immediate feelings right now before they slip away.

Before the sabbath year started I described wanting to “enter the next six year period like a coiled spring, planted on a firm foundation, pointed towards the priorities our family values the most.”

My wife and I agree that we feel coiled yet exhausted – if that makes any sense. Neither of us has a lot of extra energy right now, but we do feel excited to begin a new chapter – unfortunately the first months of that are extra hard, as any transition is. I feel especially coiled as I’ve been cutting back and saying no to a lot of things (maybe slower than I planned in some cases – it took me 10 months to stop my running training) and now I feel ready to take on some big new challenges. Those challenges are likely going to look a lot different than the type of challenges I took on over the past seven years though.

We both feel planted on a firm foundation. Our core values haven’t changed, but in a funny way, the stress of this year has forced us to get better at certain skills that help keep the foundation stable. I’ve been working on establishing better habits to ground myself and keep spiritually, mentally and physically healthy. My wife and I have been working on communicating better – not that we weren’t pretty good at communicating before, but the challenge is a lot harder when you have to do all of your communication in 30 second bursts or a few minutes in the evening when you’re both exhausted. We both feel like we’re sitting on a more firm foundation now that we’ve decided on a long term location. That means we can now make decisions with that in mind – be those buying a house, getting a new job, changing hobbies, investing deeper in certain relationships, adjusting our lifestyle, etc.

We both feel relatively pointed but not super specifically. I’ve been wrestling for a few years with what I want my calling in life to be and I had hoped I would be closer to understanding that. I don’t feel that I am, but I do feel like I have enough for the next year. Perhaps that is all I will ever get – that might be ok. My wife feels similarly in that she can’t really think about what things will look like five years from now, but she is 100% certain that tomorrow will bring mouths to feed, diapers to change, lessons to teach and laundry to wash.