I imagined this sabbatical to last about a year, although I didn’t really have a plan beyond restoring my energy, focus, and emotional balance. I made a budget, got some books from the library, watched a LOT of TV (mostly Hallmark movies), and played on my computer. I took walks when the weather was nice. I slept a LOT. Basically, I vegged out. And it was good. But …
Yes, there’s always a “but,” isn’t there? But it turns out I get bored easily. And I like to spend money. So I paid for a year-long, once-a-month online course supplemented by occasional live get-togethers and meetings. In my defense, it is an investment in my new future. I decided to start my own speaking and consulting business, and I hired a consultant to help me get it off to a good start. So far, so good! I’m getting excited about it. I like starting things, and I’m very good at it. I am great at organization and planning. This is my wheelhouse. But is it my dream? Today, I’m not 100% sure; I hope it’s the antihistamines making me groggy (see below).
Then there is the travel trailer I bought, and which I have yet to take out of storage and go camping in. That’s not all bad, though, since it has not been de-winterized, and we had a low of 27 the other night. I’m waiting for better weather, which means warmer days and less thunderstorms and wind. We’ve had a lot of that. In fact, I’ve had a couple of large branches come down in my backyard, and they are still there. I haven’t had the oomph to get out there and clean it up. But I bought the camper to go places while on this sabbatical, and I haven’t yet gone anywhere in it.
Adding to the slight feeling of uncertainty is the high pollen count lately and its impact on my allergies. I’m on my second box of Sudafed. My nose is getting sore, my eyes are itchy and twitchy, and my throat is getting froggy. I just want to keep my head on the pillow. But now I’ve got appointments set up to talk about this new business, and things to do to prepare for the appointments, like work on a business plan, and fill out licensing paperwork, and think up a name and logo and company colors and website design. I find myself procrastinating some. So I’m enlisting help from a focus group made up of friends to give me advice and act as a sounding board.
On the really good side, I do enjoy teaching – or workshopping – more than “speaking.” I have just agreed to teach 3 classes for my former employer, the National Center for State Courts, in Washington DC next month. That will ease my transition pressure and get me back in the swing of things. And it buys me time to get the details of a business worked out since I don’t have that all in place quite yet.
All of this is the long, roundabout way of saying I guess I’m going back to work several months early. But this time, finally, I’m going to be smarter about it. Having had the freedom of time due to the sabbatical, I know how much I need to have my own kind of schedule, with breaks for creative time in between bursts of “work.” I know from the budget and a few months of reality the minimum amount of money I need to meet the bills and the financial security I want. Either way, it’s scary to not have a safety net of someone else to bring in income or help with household chores when I’m gone and support me when I’m afraid or just tired. Oh, and figuring out if I like myself as a boss!
I plan to keep up this blog, because it is about me and how I’m changing now that I’m flying solo. I know I’m slightly different in subtle ways that maybe only I realize. And I know I have more to think about in that regard. The temp work will be a way to ease back into the routine and see how I respond. The life examined, and all that. I’m still working on a book, and maybe I’ll even find a way to make Solowingnow my primary focus. For now, it will be interesting to watch me as I both return to the familiar and dip my toes in the new water at the same time. Wish me well!