Four weeks. On one hand, my sabbatical felt like an eternity and on the other, it went by in the blink of an eye. I cherished every single minute and felt a sense of peace and gratitude that I don’t think I’ve felt in a very long time.
It began with a relaxing vacation to Florida. The magnificent ocean was 89 degrees, and I floated and engaged with my family with a presence that was noticeably different and calm. We had a blast, and it was the perfect way to kick the break off.
Upon returning, I took the time to immerse myself in the joys of homeownership, finding all the little quirks about owning a house built in the 1950s. While a little overwhelming at times, it was the best move we could have made.
I had so much precious time with my daughter. I spent time catching up with dear friends. I called people on the phone instead of texting, and I put my phone down in between. I did some soul digging, a lot of podcast listening, and enjoyed some house cleaning. I got back out singing surrounded by incredible friends and family. I celebrated my grandmother’s 98th birthday. I chatted with amazing and inspiring women, I ate some great meals, and I wrote down many of my thoughts and realizations. I began some new adventures, and reminded myself to focus on the things I can control instead of those I cannot. Most of all, I slowed down and focused on being present.
Time truly is a gift. We often get so caught up in the day-to-day hustle that we lose sight of what is most important. I don’t want to be the person who is too busy to respond when a friend reaches out. Because tomorrow is not promised. I don’t want to be the person who lets impatience or annoying little interactions weigh down a whole day, because life is too short to hold onto resentment and anger—with oneself or anyone else. I don’t want to forget to say I love you, I miss you, or I’m thinking about you, because everyone deserves to hear those words just as I’m feeling them. And I won’t be the person who fails to find the gratitude in each day, because there really is always something to be grateful for.
I can’t guarantee that the “normal” busy-ness of life won’t creep its way back into my world or my mind sometimes. But I can tell you this: I’m going to try like hell to keep it at bay. The art of being present is something I’m totally capable of when I really make a commitment to it, so I’m hoping I can carry it forward. One of my favorite quotes is “If you’re feeling sad, you’re thinking of the past. If you’re feeling anxious, you’re thinking about the future. If you are at peace, you are focused on the present.” It’s really so poignant and true. And I’m committing to doing better with this.
I’m actually eager to get back into a routine, and I’m excited to see what a “rejuvenated me” might be capable of. I realized I’m one of the lucky ones who feels fortunate for their day job, and I also realize I really do love the people I interact with daily. I also know that I have a very full and blessed life outside of my work, and for that I am so fortunate.
So, I’ll start each day with gratitude for where I’ve ended up. Right here, right now.