Planning, Uncategorized

Sabbatical Resolutions

Pen and blank notebook
Photo by Jessica Lewis

Happy New Year!

The beginning of a new year always feels like a time of renewal. It’s a time full of hope and potential. We set goals for ourselves and look for ways to make the new year different — better — than the last.

I’ve always loved creating New Year’s resolutions. It helps give me focus and motivation to accomplish things I’ve always wanted to. Now, I don’t necessarily follow through on all my resolutions. In fact, I probably break or fail at least 90% of my resolutions. But I think the reason for that is that I set resolutions that are too aggressive – doing a certain thing every day or making a major shift in behavior right away.

So, this year, instead of setting hard and fast rules around my resolutions, I want to just identify areas of focus. These are things that I want to devote a little more energy to in the new year and that I want to particularly prioritize above everything else.

And I thought this would be a great way to approach setting some small resolutions for my sabbatical.

So, without further adieu, here are my 2019 sabbatical resolutions:

Interview people in my fields of interest

My sabbatical so far has centered around mostly self-taught exercises in learning how to do a few of the careers on my list. This helped me uncover my aptitude for the work, as well as how much I actually enjoyed doing it.

By speaking with people who work in these fields, I think I’ll get a better sense of how to actually make a living in the areas of work, whether it be landing a job at a company or starting my own business.

Create a circle of like-minded people

I have been surprised by the sheer number of people who are either taking a similar sabbatical at the moment or who have been feeling the same lack of fulfillment in their jobs that I did. A lot of these people are fellow artists (theater and otherwise), and we all struggle to find the balance among creative fulfillment, reserving space (both time and energy) for our artistic pursuits, and making enough money to survive.

I’ve taken the opportunity to meet with a few people who are taking sabbaticals. It has been great to swap stories, and more than anything, it’s been good to reassure myself that I’m not alone. However, I feel like we could all get so much more out of each other if we banded together and formed a sort of support circle. We could meet regularly (even if it’s just once a month) to share experiences, challenges, goals and maybe lend ideas or offer assistance.

Explore part-time work

I’ve quickly realized that the best thing I can give to my sabbatical is time. In my first few months, I was mostly able to focus on 3 of the 9 careers, two of which I feel warrant further exploration. I really don’t want to rush through this and I definitely don’t want to jump back into a full-time, permanent job until I’m confident it’s a path I’m passionate about.

Therefore, to give myself as much time as I need, in 2019 I’m going to dedicate a little more energy to looking for gigs, contract jobs or regular part-time work. We still have plenty of savings left, but I don’t want to deplete it completely. I would also rather start looking for part-time work early, before we’re desperate for the extra income, so that I can be more selective.

Whatever type of extra work I take on, it needs to allow for a relatively flexible schedule and it can’t get in the way of my career exploration. If you have any ideas or leads, leave a comment.

Make time for non-career focus areas

Not only has this sabbatical given me the time — and really more importantly, the energy — to explore new careers, but it also affords me space to focus on non-career aspects of my life that I’ve been neglecting.

I want to take advantage of this extra time and energy to focus on:

  • Health and getting into shape
  • Staying more connected with my friends and family
  • Getting my home organized and decluttered
  • Exploring new artistic outlets

New year, new beginnings

2018 was quite a bumpy year, with a lot of ups and downs. But it’s also been a year of big learnings and long overdue reflection.

I’m sure 2019 will have its fair share of rises and dips, but for the first time in a long time, it feels like I’m the one steering. So, where to first?

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