Thursday, February 17, 2011

The (Economical) Sabbatical

While the hubby often tells people that I am now retired, I figure that at 43 I still have a few working years left. So I am looking at this break as more of a sabbatical than as a permanent retirement. Sabbaticals are common in the education profession, but I saw this wonderful TED presentation about a business owner who takes a year off, even closing his business while he is gone, every seven years for the purpose of rejuvenation and becoming re-inspired which not only is great for him personally but also for his business. So I am officially on sabbatical and have established the following goals:
  • It can't cost a lot. Obviously for the sabbatical to work you need to be able to fund the time off. This can be done by #1, not having debt payments to make while you are on sabbatical, and #2, carefully spending your money during your time off so you don't end up with more time off than money.
  • I want to focus on my health. When I am working I can put together dozens of excuses to not exercise mainly because my schedule was so crazy I couldn't get into a rhythm for exercising. I may exercise four days in a row but then have two days crammed full of meetings and immediately fall off the exercise wagon. Now I have NOTHING to do which means that as soon as I wake up each morning I head out the door and walk three miles. This is perfect because it is free, I have a beautiful place to walk, and there is sunshine which is inspirational in itself.
  • Also as part of improving my health (as well as being a good house guest) I am cooking everyday. This saves money (eating out costs a lot!), it is much more healthful (I know exactly what ingredients I am using and opt for the healthiest ingredients possible), and I am learning how to cook Southern food (my sister-in-law's fiance is a Southern boy born and bred so he gets to test all of my cooking to see if it measures up...he even gave me his granddad's secret cornbread recipe!).
  • I get to sleep! This is also free and again, with no meetings/appointment/projects on deadline, I can actually sleep eight plus hours per night! That in itself is super rejuvenating.
  • I am enjoying time to just slow down and be. Compared to my previously insane schedule, this gives me plenty of time to become inspired. Learning and inspiration can be found anywhere and be found relatively cheaply or even free. On my list of things to do: go to Sunday service at a traditional African American church, see the Georgia Guidestones, and maybe take a side trip to Memphis for some blues and ribs. Basically what I do is research things that are tourist attractions/happening in the area as well as stay open to any opportunities that come up (for example, my SIL invited me to a tour of the CDC today which was interesting**). I really think that I will come back from this experience more relaxed, refreshed, and hopefully with some wonderful new business ideas!

A sabbatical should be de rigour for everyone. Most people never take any time off for themselves and instead go straight from high school to college to the world of work with hardly more than a week or two of vacation each year. By taking an honest-to-goodness sabbatical even if you need to pinch pennies when you do so and enjoy more free stuff than expensive, scheduled events, the time spent on rejuvenating yourself can be priceless!

**I moved my other blog from Tumblr (again) back to Blogger (again) so if you want to find out about our travels, you can find my travel blog at


  1. I am in Atlanta too. I totally support your sabbatical...especially the health part...and the exercise. I am retired and exercise is one of the best things and first things I got going for myself. All the best!

  2. You folks in Atlanta have the BEST weather...and the BEST food. I love this place!