Thoughts from Sabbatical


The beChill pillar reminds us to relax and not take ourselves too seriously. Smell the roses, laugh, and just enjoy this gift of life we have been given. I am on a sabbatical from work for the month of June and have been trying to “chill” as much as possible. I work for a company that understands the need to have a work/life balance and every 5 years of work earns you a month off in addition to your regular vacation. 

Sabbatical means “of the Sabbath” and is typically reserved for research professors to take 1 year off for every 7 worked to study or travel. Our company found that taking 1 week of vacation did not allow someone to truly disconnect from work and relax. Research shows that to truly unplug you need several weeks off in a row. The goal being to relax, reflect, and come back to work refreshed with renewed motivation and ideas. 

It’s easy to get bogged down in your typical routine. Most of us are not research professors and I only get a sabbatical periodically so I wanted to take full advantage of this time. My goals were to reflect, work on my relationships, and get some long-standing house projects completed.  

Between months of a pandemic lockdown and the more recent protests against racial injustice, there has been plenty for me to reflect on. Is my life going in the direction that it should be and that I want it to? How will my kids look back on this time? How am I treating others especially those of a different skin tone? Am I acting like the friend or husband that I would want to be? These last few weeks have been a great opportunity to give some serious thought to topics that typically don’t get enough of my attention. 

Speaking of things getting my attention, my oldest son turns 10 next month. Likely more than half of the time he will live under my roof is over and I found myself wanting to make every day count with him and my other 3 boys. Working from home the last few months has allowed me to be around my kids more but not as present as I would like to be. My goal was to spend time each day with my boys and make some memories. Living room campouts, fishing, and jumbo Jenga are a few of the ways I have been able to connect with them over the last few weeks.

Sabbatical has also been the time to tackle projects around the house that have been on my to do list for way too long. We live in a ninety-nine-year-old house that has plenty of upgrading left to do. It’s nice to feel a sense of accomplishment even when you are relaxing. Tearing out our old deck, painting the porch, and removing ugly cast iron pipes from our basement are a few items my wife would like to see me do this month. Did I mention she loves sabbatical too?

Regardless of when I may have a sabbatical again, I want to build these activities into my routine on a more regular basis. This time has shown me what intentionality in “being chill” can accomplish. I am enjoying the fruit of my “Sabbath” and hope that you will think about stepping back and smelling the roses with me.

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