“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, come humour, and some style” – Maya Angelou
I first heard the term “Radical Sabbatical” while listening to The RobCast: Sounds like Davin Young. Davin speaks about a season of his life where he experiences great success in both his professional and personal life, only to be met with burnout.
The feeling of burnout was met with great loss. He tells himself during this season of his life that he shouldn’t be burnt out, however he develops guilt and shame as a result of not being where he had pictured himself to be. So, he embarked on a Radical Sabbatical which took him out of his current space and into a season of self-discovery. In his time away he had a “sky splitting open” moment where he finally found the clarity that he was seeking.
Now, I don’t know about you but let me tell you, I was completely undone when I heard his story because that was where I was at in my own life.
As you read in my description, I am a Canadian Millennial that “had it all.”
I was well educated; I carried three credentials from three reputable institutes in the Metro-Vancouver area and was not burdened with student loans. I loved my job; had the best boss who I would literally go to the ends of the earth for, had a flexible schedule and working arrangements, did rewarding work in my community, got four weeks vacation a year, full dental/medical benefits, and collaborated with talented individuals locally and globally. I had a fully loaded and reliable car (well, it crapped out on me just before I became (f)unemployed; but that’s a different story). I had a solid group of friends that I could call on at any moment, just as I would do the same for them. Oh, and I was debt free. All of this at twenty-six years old.
Despite “having it all”, I grew frustrated with myself for my inability to find joy in all that I had; it was exhausting. I was surviving, but I was not living.
Then I went to Australia.
I walked on beaches I had never walked on before. I visited new places that took my breath away. I went to old places that carried beautiful memories from my childhood. I tried new restaurants. I got lost almost every day as the streets I once knew were blocked off or shut down due to development. I discovered I like Rum and Whiskey. I put myself out there despite being uncomfortable meeting new people and would say “hello” to just about everyone I saw.
I fell in love.
Now, I’m sure the people who know me have an eyebrow raised. “Who did he fall in love with and what’s the story?!”
I fell in love with myself. I fell in love with who I am when I’m in Australia.
When I am in Australia, I do not care what my hair looks like. The humidity alone causes me to put my hair up in a bandana most days. I wear whatever I want, I can’t really wear layers as it’s too hot so I have to accept my body for what it looks like at the time. I eat and drink whatever I want and as much as I want because I don’t hear anyone telling me, “you’re fat/overweight” or “you’ve let yourself go.” I do not make a schedule of what my day is supposed to look like or meeting deadlines. I go to the beach at least two to three times a week. I am not screaming at the driver who cuts me off on the road or freaking out because of traffic because I can get everywhere that I need to get to on the train. The structure, control, and perfection that I obsess over melts away.
I get the rare opportunity to press “re-start” and write a new story.
So, I am boarding a plane to pursue my dreams in 8 Days, 14 Hours, and 25 Minutes. I have a one way ticket, a passport, a wardrobe, years of education and work experience, and the little finances I have left in my bank account.
I have asked myself to do three things during my Radical Sabbatical:
- Embrace rest
- Be outside daily
- Discover new places
I’m not sure where I go from here, but I can’t wait to find out!