Waking up when your alarm clock goes off, dragging yourself to the shower, saying, “Just two more days until Friday”. Sitting in traffic, rushing to be on time for work, rushing to meet your deadlines, counting how many days are left until you can take your next holiday… I am sure this resonates with most of us.
This was my life for 11 years. Yes, of course I had some fun times, learnt new skills and met incredible people, but I was unfulfilled. If you are not doing what you love, at some point you will find yourself tired and restless. I got to that point one year ago, and that is when I finally decided to take a year off from work.
I did not travel the world immediately or run to an ashram to find myself. I simply had no idea what that year would hold in store for me. If you choose to do this some people will be excited for you, some will be concerned, but what is most important is how you feel about it.
Here are my top five highlights that the unknown had in store for me:
1. Puppy Love!
I will never forget lying in bed and googling Labrador puppies. I found my precious one on OLX! I named him after the best pizza place in Pretoria – Enzo! Office politics were replaced by my naughty Labrador always keeping me on my toes.
Check out the pizza place that we named our puppy after: https://www.zomato.com/pretoria/pizzeria-enzo-eldoraigne
If you have a Fur friend then browse through Enzo’s favourites, a collection we put together after searching high and low for these items that you can easily order online.
2. Renovating a house
After a five minute chalk painting lesson at Builders Warehouse, I was ready to take on all the kitchen cupboards. New found freedom does tend to make you over confident, but nonetheless I accomplished it and it looks amazing.
3. Toffee Apple DesignZ
I started my own events and design company, Toffee Apple DesignZ. I thought it would be tough to get business because there are many events and design companies out there, but that was not the case.
Requests kept coming through and it took me back to a roadshow I attended 10 years ago when I heard Allan Knott-Craig, a former CEO at Vodacom say, “Do what you love and the money will follow”. That’s exactly what happened.
4. Euro Trip
From German Christmas markets to the Swiss Alps, high tea in Paris to Eataly in Italy. This was a special trip with amazing experiences. Some experiences were less amazing, but this is what life is all about.
I found myself sliding down the Alps in a snow tube, stranded at the airport because I didn’t know I needed a transit visa, sipping on glühwein at the Christmas markets on chilly winter nights. I had the best time of my life. I realised that when everything goes according to plan – it’s boring! When you truly live you experience it all, the good and the bad, this is where the magic lies.
Last but not least, this is my favourite highlight – waking up when I was ready to open my eyes, not when an alarm clock went off. I enjoyed just being. Not rushing, juggling tasks, making plans. I could simply just be. In the stillness and peace you feel when your mind stops racing, you’ll find that yesterday and tomorrow do not matter and there is just the now. It is liberating.
We are so busy chasing things; money, clients, material goods, fancy cars and other status symbols. But is that happiness? Maybe it is for some. If you find yourself feeling restless and frustrated, stop and just be.
Take a chance, take a sabbatical and let life lead you to where you should be. Maybe it will lead you back to your job, maybe it will lead you to something completely different. I would rather take the chance than never know.
If it was possible to take a year’s sabbatical from work to reassess your life, what would you do and where would you go?