A sabbatical year sounds like only 12 months, but really it last much longer. In fact, it started months (years?) before as we started making plans for how to spend this precious time. And now here I am one week into my return to work and I still feel like it's part of that year.
So for all of you who are wondering what it's like to be back - well, it's good. Each morning this week I was excited to be at the office. And why not? The pace is ultra slow and I'm spending most of my time just catching up with everyone. Talking about my travels with interested persons and finding out what events/situations I missed while I was gone. Every single person I talk to is thrilled to have me back, and continues to say such nice things about working together with me. Things I only got to hear as I preparing to leave and now when I'm back, but never heard when I was just there. It's worth going away just to hear these positives!
I do feel like everything's changed for me, and nothing has changed for the people around me. This makes me feels sad and wonder how I can stay bright and shiny and not just settle in to passing time like it appears most of the rest of the world does.
The question that baffles me most is whether my family/staff resent me for taking time off, and if this makes it hard now that I'm back. I mean I know that I have the best family ever, because they truly were happy during the year to spend time intensely with me some times, and then also to let me be away with no contact at other times. I had such support from them to just do what I needed/wanted to do and that was that. In my mind, that's true love - giving freedom to your loved one to be happy, whether they're with you or not.
As for people at work, I think they were envious, but totally understood why I wanted to do this. Why not? And they understood that change is good for everyone, especially when it's time limited. I go away, I return.
I hope I inspire others to make their dreams come true and to spend time doing what's important. We never know the future, and need to spend the present well. Work is a piece of the constant in our lives, and I have peace with that. I like working. I'm also thrilled to get my first paycheque at 100% in 5 years. There's always tradeoffs - sometimes good, sometimes bad. You work, you get paid. Just be happy at what you do. I am.
I hope I can keep my centredness for as long as possible. I need to stay focused on what's important. Let go of petty ideas. Stay in the present. But one week in, I'm still smiling and feeling ok.