Planning

Baby Steps

Well, it’s my first post of 2020, and as it’s the beginning of the year, I expected this entry to focus on my resolutions for this sabbatical in the next 12 months. But I find myself at a loss.

Right now, it’s hard to picture what I will be doing next week, let alone months from now. It’s hard to even decide what I want to focus on. And by now, we all know the reason for this: BABY.

Ryan returns to work tomorrow, and it’s going to take at least a week or two to figure out what our weekday routine will look like now that it’s just me and Arthur at home during the day. How fussy will Artie be? How regular of a routine can we implement? This will all affect how much time (and predictable hours) I will have to dedicate to my career exploration.

So, what will this sabbatical look like in 2020? The answer is: to be determined. Before I can create some career exploration plans, I need to figure out the baby schedule. This year, I’m going to need to accept that things are going to go slowly. It will figuratively (and eventually, literally) be a year of baby steps.

Last year’s resolutions

In drafting this week’s blog, I looked back at my new year’s resolutions post from last year. This was actually the first time I reviewed these resolutions since I originally wrote them. And it’s nice to see that I actually fulfilled (or at least touched on) most of them:

Interview people in my fields of interest

I didn’t end up doing this as much as I thought I would, but I did interview a few people. As you might remember, I sat down with Tasi Alabastro to talk about his work as a content creator. And I also talked to my husband, Ryan Lee Short, about making major career shifts.

Additionally, I had the chance to informally pick the brains of people in the interior design field through my studies, internship and part-time job.

One of the biggest things I learned from the few interviews I did is that this format isn’t actually the best way to get a feel for the field, as everyone’s experience is so personal and individual. Instead, it’s important to interview many people in the field to get multiple perspectives and a more holistic picture of the industry.

However, I did encounter an unexpected learning: my blog readers really like the interview format. I may continue these throughout this upcoming year for that reason alone!

Create a circle of like-minded people

This is the one resolution I didn’t pursue at all — to find other people taking sabbaticals or planning a major career change and meet up with them regularly. Essentially, starting a sabbatical support group.

I would require a lot of time to take the lead on something like this, which is probably why I never did it. But this year, I might be interested in revisiting the idea.

When I was pregnant, I was (and still am) part of a Facebook Group for women who were also having November 2019 babies. It was comforting to hear from other people who were going through the same thing. It helped ease a lot of anxiety and made me feel not so alone.

Explore part-time work

Well, this is something I achieved! I did my home staging internship over the summer, and started as a part-time interior design assistant in the fall.

And I discovered that this is one of the best ways to get a feel for a new career field, especially understanding what the day-to-day is like.

I do want to continue working, but right now it’s hard to know when I’ll be able to return. Again, I’ll just need to be patient and let myself first focus on figuring out the baby routine.

Make time for non-career focus areas

Specifically, there were four things I wanted to dedicate time to:

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

I achieved some of these. At the beginning of 2019, I lost a lot of weight, completed a fitness challenge and started a regular exercise routine. Of course, some of that petered out once I got pregnant, but I’ve restarted my efforts again for this new year.

The pregnancy got in the way of that second focus area of staying more connected with friends and family. However, I’d say the impending baby really drove my work in the third area — getting my home organized

As for exploring new artistic outlets — I’d say I did that a little, but not as much as I planned. On the performing side, I did sketch comedy for the first time. I also made my directorial debut with the staged reading this past November. But I didn’t do as many new projects with film/video or writing than I expected.

2020

Again, I’m not going to create any sabbatical resolutions for this year. I think this year, more than any other before, I actually need to be comfortable with the fact that I really can’t make concrete plans, that things are going to be pretty unpredictable, and that I’m just going to have to take baby steps.

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