My year off work has officially started now. I left my 14 year job to spend the year with the family full time. I took an unpaid leave with no guarantee of a job at the end of the year.
It was a good job, good friends, but now I want to pause and reflect professionally, recharge, and enjoy Kelly, Tate, Rylee and Luke while they are still young, available and eager to spend time together loving our family life.
It’s a little scary since I don’t have a job plan on the end of this, so it’s a leap of faith. A trust-in-self exercise. Exciting times!
Since deciding to go ahead with this, some of the details of our plan have been changing throughout the course of the last year, but the overall plan is the same; Take a step back from our hard working, high-achieving, busy lives and enjoy our world together. To not be in a hurry every day and to step back to see what we see.
We originally planned more travel on the front end, but I opted to start the first part of the trip being free in our home town. So far it is pretty amazing. Everything looks and feels different now. I am helping out at the kids’ homeschool co-op once a week, getting to participate in their science, cooking, chess, comedy and face painting classes. I get to go to the park after co-op with them and enjoy watching their joy, playing with them and just being outside for most of every day now. Coffee shop dates with Kel are very relaxed and laid back and we can do them on weekday mornings. We stay up late together having a good time watching movies, playing games, making movies and talking.
Another benefit of starting our year off at home is that we are planning several local State Park trips before we head out. Louisiana has beautiful parks. Very green and lots of wildlife. Unbelievable Oak trees, Cypress trees, deer, alligators, raccoons and lots of insects and frogs that serenade you all night long.
I’m also learning to deliberately focus on gratitude throughout the day to not miss this unbelievable opportunity with my family. I’m improving deep breathing and quieting my mind. It’s getting to be more of a daily habit that I practice throughout the day. I’m seeing that the connections with the family, the magical moments, come in random short events on any given day, not necessarily during a planned event or during an outing. It’s just a function of being here and being mentally available.
We’re still working through the logistics of our longer summer road trip. It feels overwhelming sometimes to try to organize and execute, but we’ll know what it looks like when we get there.
And, of course, after the road trip, we still have to figure out how to settle in Portland for six months to try living in a totally new city. We’re all very excited about that part too.