A vacuum begs to be filled. Given extra time and energy, projects that were once low priority enough to not get started will seem urgent enough to focus on. Around 2015 I changed how I stored my digital pictures from folders by topic to yearly folders with files named with the datetime they were taken. Everything pre-2015 is has stayed the old way, while everything 2015 and onward has been the new way. One evening this week, while looking for a photo of when my first son was born, in 2014, I got the itch to do the housekeeping work to update all of the old photos so everything was organized the same way. It was a few hours in before I stopped to ask myself why. Projects like this are popping up like weeds. All of a sudden it feels of the utmost importance that I go through all
Taking time off of work to rest is not something that would seem on paper to be difficult. However, three months in, I feel this is one of the most difficult challenges I’ve ever undertaken. This is surprising considering that list includes finishing an Ironman, surfing Mavericks, hiking Mt. Whitney, winning a marathon, launching a multi-million dollar business, and having three kids in as many years, to name a few. This is going to be a low-note of a blog post. I don’t want to sound negative or ungrateful, but it is important to me that I write honestly. Part of the reason I blog about the challenges I attempt is so that other people can learn from them and hopefully implement the ideas better themselves in the future. With this experiment of a sabbath year in particular, I plan to repeat the process again in 7 years, so learning from the difficulty
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
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
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.
I previously wrote about principles that guide our family’s thinking about the concept of a sabbath year. Those principles were written to be generic enough that they could apply to all of our future sabbath years. While I’m sure we will iterate these ideas over time as we learn from experience, they represent the current thinking. The next step is to take those principles and apply them to our current life state in order to come up with a specific plan for our 2017 sabbath year. I predict that every sabbath year will look slightly different, because every period of life offers different circumstances. For example, having young children to take care of is going to make a year look much different than a year in which there are no kids to take care of. To start, here are some of our current life circumstances that we think will impact the
For 2017 I challenged myself to define & launch a sabbath year. This is a concept I’ve been thinking on for the past ~6 years but as the start date has been getting closer, my need for a clear definition been increasing. In the last month I’ve been talking with other people a lot about this upcoming sabbath. Two people have poignantly asked me, ‘what does success look like for you?’ Though I had a rough idea, I realized I needed to think on the concept more. Endeavors a squandered less frequently when they have a clearly defined and measurable goal defined before they start. While I can’t say I do this with every endeavor I undertake, it sees particularly important for one that will cost a year of time and over $100,000 between opportunity & actual costs. Here I want to explore the general concepts of a sabbath period