What Time Off Offers

I’ve been off of work for nearly four months. As the financial planner in the family, I’m ready to return to the world of a paycheck. However, if you do sabbaticals correctly, I’m of the belief that taking time off traditional work often requires more effort. Time off is also rewarding if done properly. So, here’s what I’ve been “working” on in the last several months:

I’ve been working on discovering my passions. I am most fulfilled when I collaborate with another person to make creative decisions; decisions with significant outcomes. For instance, I’ve been working with a friend on her website She Does Tri. We’ve gone through the layout and content to improve the user interface. (If you are a female triathlete, check it out.) Promoting the bike race in early 2014 unleashed my hunger to create something of my own. My dad has always encouraged me to follow a traditional career path but my comeback of late is, “Yes, I am smart; smart enough to know that I won’t do well in a forty-hour-a-week job”. When I put on the bike race, I had no idea if I’d make money, come out even, or lose a fair bit of cash and have to chalk it up to an expensive hands-on class of sorts. So, in the past several months I’ve been trying to piece together my skills and decide what I can do that will earn money while still mentally engaging me. I’ve toyed with the idea of becoming a personal trainer. I’ve also mentioned that I’ll write a book. Now? I’m taking a writing class. It won’t hurt and maybe it’ll help if I do write a full account of last year. Besides that, I’m still sitting on a lot of ideas and I’m coming to the realization that some of my goals my stay dormant for a few months or years.

In less than two weeks I’ll be racing at Ironman Los Cabos. I’ve spent this fall trying to train through what many other athletes consider to be the off-season. It’s like watching everyone else go play kickball while you’re grounded. I think I’m ready. My ankle hurts but my legs are starting to feel peppy. I did two, four-hour rides last week and managed to — well I managed not to give up and turn around for home early. That’s all I’m going to elaborate on for training.

More recent focuses of mine have been embracing my feminine side, trying to give back to others, and unplugging from electronics. As an athlete I tend to stay in gym clothes throughout the day if I don’t have a reason to change. Two days ago I went shopping with Kennett and found two long-sleeve shirts. For the majority of people that wouldn’t be much of anything to blog about.  However, our family is frugal which is why we are able to take time off work. Buying new clothes is essentially asking to go back to work earlier than intended, but how you dress also impacts your mood. Since wearing  my new button-down plaid shirt I’ve felt more productive. The cuffed sleeves roll up my forearms just like my Coast Guard uniform did. (I wasn’t supposed to roll them up in the Coast Guard, but I have a rebellious side.) I felt competent in the Coast Guard and this new plaid shirt taps into that feeling. And, Kennett doesn’t like plaid, so I still feel slightly rebellious when I wear it.

When I’m not busy putting on fake eyelashes I’m also trying to give back to others. I’ve got more spare time at the moment and I’d like to be helping others who are on the opposite end of the spectrum. I won’t expand on my good deeds but please know that if you are crammed for time, don’t be afraid to ask for a bit of help. We’ll do our best to ease a difficult day for you. Similarly, reach out if you spend too much time in solitary and need social interaction. Spending time with us will make you appreciate time alone.

I am trying to be social while attempting to disconnect. For instance, the writing class asks that we turn off the internet and focus for at least an hour per day. This has proven to be extremely difficult for me (I actually just answered a text). To add to my discontent with devices that emit blue light, I listened to a TED radio hour podcast while walking Maybellene called Screen Time. (Ironically, I was completely plugged into my headphones for this activity too.) Ideally, we are going to continue to unplug the internet when it’s not needed.

Oh — and I’ve been working very hard to drink more water.


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