September is my sabbatical month, an entire month set aside to do the traveling and exploring that doesn’t fit in to my lifestyle the remaining 11 months of the year. Awesome, isn’t it? By the time summer arrives, I’m longing for the break, imagining how good it’ll feel to put the pressures of daily life (and baseball season!) on hold. But come September 1, I’m still surprised, though I’ve done this before, that time off doesn’t sweep in to my life with a huge sigh of relief. Guess I need a reminder—change, even good, longed for, sought after change, is hard! Seriously, I am saying that there’s a period of adjustment even to a change as wonderful as a month of travel. Despite the pressure and stress of daily life, I lead a life that I’ve chosen and procured to fit me just right, a life I really love. So, when my entire routine is disrupted, come September travel, I’m out of sorts…just when I should be ecstatic! And that discombobulated feeling is compounded by my own expectations—that I’ll transition fluidly and seamlessly from my “at home” daily routine to my “travel” daily routine, that I’ll only feel exhilaration at the new found freedom and joy at having time to see the world and spend uninterrupted hours with Ron. It’s a double-whammy, all brought on by…yours, truly!
It’s all about expectations
Expectations are everything—I’m adding a calendar reminder to this effect on next August 31st. Need to remember it so I can be prepared. Maybe I should add it for August 1st, instead, so I have a whole month to get into the right mindset for my transition. A wiser, more realistic version of myself will expect that abandoning my daily routine will unsettle me. She’ll consider in advance some small, comforting, self-care measures to build in to those first sabbatical days to ease the transition. She’ll also temper those expectations of bliss. That exalted state of freedom may or may not come, but probably won’t in the first few days. The change of focus and activities will, on the whole, be a good thing, even a very good thing, but it won’t be heralded in by fireworks, fanfare, or even a sudden relief from the stress of daily life. One kind of stress—getting things done so I can pick up Dad for dinner, remaining patient and kind when he is confused and asks me the same question for the 17th time…will be replaced by another. When you’re traveling with another person, decisions about how the day is spent are suddenly joint…a big adjustment for the two very independent souls in my household who are accustomed to going our own ways with no explanation and just a wave of the hand.
Just do it anyway
Change is good! Big and small, mixing things up makes life better…or shows us that what we’ve got right now is pretty darned good! I remind myself that I’ve made the greatest gains in life satisfaction when I’ve taken the leap and made scary changes—career changes, moving across the country or to another country altogether, committing to a relationship, caring for my parents. The key to navigating the transitions with the least amount of psychic wear and tear is to manage my own expectations of the process and my reactions to it.
Here I sit, a month after returning from my September sabbatical. I expected (that word, again!) re-entry into daily life to be bumpy…and it has been! My daily routine was not re-established overnight. In fact, the process of restarting my at home daily routine has been an opportunity to examine each piece with fresh eyes, to see how the pieces work and fit together. Some parts reverted to their pre-September sabbatical form and some have morphed, been moved to a new time slot, or been abandoned completely. I aspire to regular blog posts, but they haven’t returned quickly. I’ve still got plenty of room for calibrating my expectations, but it does feel good to be back in my groove!
I love partnering with people who are in transition! Give me a call (336-701-2612) or send me a message if you would like help working through yours.
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