When my company announced a new benefit for long-tenured employees last year, my jaw dropped (literally).
A paid 1-month sabbatical?
For an IT Manager?
With money for travel included too?
It sounded too good to be true, but let me assure you– it’s very true, and it’s fantastic.
I’m almost halfway through my sabbatical at this point, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me. The last 6 months have been quite hectic, and the timing of the sabbatical dictated that my work projects and duties had to taper off, and be handed over to others before it started.
So here I am, living life like I’m financially independent. At least for a couple more weeks.
You might be asking “what’s it like?” or maybe “is it what you expected?” Even more than that, I was wondering “will it change my perspective on what FI could be like?”
One of the areas I worried about was my focus. As a guy in my early thirties, I haven’t quite established the daily routines in my life that keep people on task when they are retired (my grandparents are in their 80s and get their day started at 5:00am every day).
I’m excited to say that this has not been a concern. With less work going on I’m getting a little more rest, so I actually get excited about getting up at 6am and doing some reading when my coffee starts brewing.
I’m also able to put more thought into things that I want to pursue, like my kids, and building various income streams without feeling like they are an energy suck. I was afraid that I would fall off from investing time into various areas, but I’m excited that my focus is on those things even more.
In hindsight I wish I had been more prepared for this aspect of my sabbatical, but oh well. When you’ve got a couple of small children you’re around all day, both you and they think that every day is a festival day. We’ve wanted to get out more together, shop more, and eat out more.
I’ve also organized several rounds of golf with friends, a short trip to the mountains with my lovely bride, and the whole family is going to the beach for a week at the end of my time. That’s a lot of money spent in a short amount of time.
If I were truly living FI, I don’t think I would have those kinds of urges, but it feel like a “live for the moment” month.
I’ve been able to invest time into quite a few things in the last couple of weeks that I normally wouldn’t, including stripping all the gunky polyurethane from my solid wood front door and refinishing it and putting up new shutters on the front of my house. Those projects, while time consuming, were almost fun since I didn’t have to squeeze them into a Saturday or another short window.
I have found, though, that planning my day is even more important now than it normally is at the office. If I don’t sit down and make a list of the things I plan to accomplish in a given day, I can be distracted by all kinds of “worthwhile endeavors”.
So that’s my sabbatical in a nutshell, as I approach the halfway mark. How do you think I’m doing? What would you like to know about it? And what would you do with a sabbatical of your own?