While some might call it a "crisis", I have decided to my break from the grind is really more of a revival. In typical Project Manager fashion I have embraced this time in my life complete with a budget and a timeline. It may not be for the financially irresponsible, but it's worth the effort. I've never been happier!
I was on contract with Red Bull until the end of last year. When it came down to what I wanted to do, I realized it wasn't stay put and be complacent. On the final day of my employment, as I fired up the truck and drove away, The Scorpions "Winds of Change" played on the radio.
I felt like that moment in time was a fresh start and a new beginning. I set off with a mission to wake up early every day and be productive. Do the things I always say I want to do like create this new website, launch a podcast (in progress,) write a book (ok i'm lagging on this one,) learn to speak Polish (thanks Rosetta Stone) and make art (check.) I try to be out of the house every day by 8:30am at the latest. I go to my studio and I study Polish for an hour. Then I write or paint or cut yarn or attack the web.
I've starting volunteering for a local charity organization called Step Up, that functions as a women's networking group and teen mentorship program. I've done some freelance work crafting social media strategies or writing. I've created three new series of artwork that I'm really proud of and completed a shiny new website to boot. I'm not lost or reaching or trying to find some sense of my youth. I don't need a sports car, an affair or a new wardrobe. In fact I've never felt better in my 10 year old pick up truck, with my wonderful husband, or with the state of my physique, which frankly is that of a 43 year old women. And what of it?
Yes, I have a partner, which makes this time off thing a bit easier, financially. And yes, I will get another full time gig one day. But in the meantime, I take walks in nature, I practice a language I can only speak to my Mom in, I express myself in ways that make me smile and am continually surprised at the expanding capacity with which my love grows for my husband. I think everyone should have to take a mandatory break, mid-life. While you are still healthy enough to evaluate what's important. To flex your intelligence and your world view. To stop and consider who you've grown into and where you really want to go.