Rumble: The Sabbatical. Stock Taking.

End March last year, I ended my tour of duty in Dubai to go on a one year sabbatical. Many people said I was crazy. I had a well paid job, an excellent office which we set up ourselves, staffed with superb people, all handpicked for the job. I had a nice car, and a diplomatic status.
“Why? Why give this all up? What will you do?”, they asked me, “What will you do after that?”. I did not have any answers for those questions. I jumped into the void. Felt I had been in this ‘line of work’ for too long, felt like ‘I had seen it all, done it all’. Time to resource.

Felt fortunate in many ways, though. I have a supportive family, even though Tine did raise an eye-brow when I told her, I would stop working for a year. I also had the financial independence to do what I wanted for a while. And had a good health. So, each time people fired questions as to “Why?”, I could answer “Why not?”. Life is too short to be boring. And boredom, routine is the one thing that kills me.

Still it was quite a shock to come back home, after years running at a high pace. Especially coming from the work I used to do: emergencies. All cool and under control one moment, and the next second my phone starts ringing, telling me about an earthquake here, a flooding there, a military coup or a civil upraising. And off went our team, and up went our working hours.. Coming back home from that environment, it felt like.. Well, how retirement probably feels…

I did not have set plans for my sabbatical. As often I don’t have set plans for anything. Things just happen. It was a test for my philosophy to ‘trust destiny’. Not that I am the kind of person sitting on the side of life, and watching it pass by. But I do trust that somewhere, I will get a sign of which way to go. A sign of a road to take. And once I get onto that road, I do tend to go all the way.
So, today, with ten days to go before the end of the sabbatical year (which turned out to be 13 months), it still feels like only yesterday I arrived back home with my suitcases and bags, shouting “Honey, I am hooooome!”. Time flies. So.. it is time to take inventory of what happened. What the hell did I do with one year of spare time?

  1. Went skiing with the family in Italy. Twice
  2. Went sailing with the guys from work along the Northsea coast
  3. Went sailing with the family in the Caribbean for a month
  4. Worked in the house (high time!). Installed a new oven, a new cooking plate, moved the washing machine and dryer, installed a completely new bathroom (ok ok, I did not do all myself, but I surely did most of the shopping and planning!), new bedrooms. Redid part of the garden (installed that wooden fence that Tine wanted me to install since ages!), planted loads of flowers (which died all during the dry spell we had while sailing in the Caribbean :-) )
  5. Then went sailing again, delivering a boat from England to the Canary Islands.
  6. Raced across the Atlantic in the same boat. Continued afterwards up to the Virgin Islands.
  7. And finally, finally, did something I wanted to do for ten years: publish the books and short stories I had written. And while I was at it, created some additional websites.

And you know, it still feels like I have been sitting on my bumb for a year. Never pleased. Ok, I agree, there are still some things I want to do before I leave in ten days:

  1. New plants in the garden
  2. Install the doors on the cupboards of the sleeping room, and install curtains in the dressing.
  3. Ensure all family administration is done
  4. Do the last hotel bookings for the summer holiday (yeah! I will do that first)…

So now, it is time to start thinking ahead. Going back to work. Euh… What work again? Well, read about that… (ruffle of a drum) tomorrow in (more drum ruffle): “The Sabbatical. The Day After…” :-)


Naf Lenirtac 20 April, 2007 20:40  

"You know to survive", " You know to live life". There is a lot of difference between these statements. The later seems to go well with your persona....

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