Sabbatical For the Soul or a sabbatical (from Hebrew: shabbat (שבת) (i.e., Sabbath), in Latin: sabbaticus, in Greek: sabbatikos (σαββατικός), literally a “ceasing”) is a rest from work, or a break, often lasting from two months to a year.   

The holiday craze is upon us and it is about this time every year where I secretly imagine taking a year-long sabbatical and holed up in a cabin far away from the world, and my yes my adorable, “lovies”, as I get in touch with my soul.  In my fantasy I am writing madly, cooking wild game, mostly rabbit stew, baking wild berry muffins, and sipping Pinot Grigio.  At day break I am trekking across an icy pond covered with snow, with my German Shepherd Jaxx, as we make a hole in the ice, which I easily make shooting my shotgun into the ice and blowing a hole in that sucker, as we do some ice fishing, then go home and make some fresh rainbow trout, as I sit by the fire and contemplate the first half of my life and what I want the next half to be like.

When my kidlets were younger the furthest I could get to that notion was barely a 10 minute soak in the tub, 11, if I threw in a Disney movie and gave them some popcorn!  Now that they are young adults, well two out of the three, my baby is only 16, the fantasy is starting to look more like a reachable reality.  If I carefully orchestrate my life, maybe I can make a month happen.  Sometimes it looks selfish when I lay it out on paper, leave my family for a fucking month, the family who will stare into the refrigerator magically hoping to will the American cheese to miraculously turn itself into grilled cheese sandwiches, when Mom takes a break from cooking, a rare occurrence I might add.  Same kidlets, who don’t know where the new bottle of shampoo emerges from, after being in the same house for the last 16 years, or how to take out the stinky garbage instead of complain about how something really reeks, or when they should do a load of laundry, or throw caution to the wind and go commando rather than wash a load of boxers.  My boys! xo

But maybe that’s my way of talking myself out of it.  Maybe, just maybe I am secretly afraid of what the month-long search will reveal.  Will it reveal that I have put my goals, my dreams, and myself on hold for far too long?  Will I discover that it feels really good to be independent and alone with myself, something that hasn’t happened in my life in over 26 years since I first laid eyes on my fireman and we began dating?  That being in control of my destiny has been within my reach, or will I discover that solitude is nice in theory but after about a week, it is fucking maddening and I lose myself in the silence of my demented mind?  Kinda like that!crazy.gifMore and more people are taking the plunge and redirecting their lives to follow their bliss and do what truly feeds their souls.  Some people decide it is time to retire, if they have the means to do so financially, and write the Great American Novel, they have dreamt about, others leave lackluster careers and go back to school to pursue a more soul satisfying career, or start a business they always dreamed about, still others, take time to just feel, to grieve for what is, what was, and start to heal, for maybe the first time in a very long time.

I can remember my Mom and her girlfriends talking about taking a weekend alone and leaving us kids home with the Dads to go and have some fun in Atlantic City.  They spoke of two carefree nights, sans kids and husbands, where they would have a nice dinner that was served and enjoyed hot, quiet conversation uninterrupted by Mom where’s the shampoo?, and just be able to appreciate their identity as a woman.  She never pulled the pin, but I wish she had.  She died at the young age of 48, and hadn’t truly had time to pursue her dreams, and I realize now, how her soul surely could have used that break from raising three strong-willed, rebellious daughters, at the height of puberty.   Who the hell wouldn’t need a break from that?!  I need one just reliving it in my mind!  And it’s not that men don’t need one, I think everyone does at some point in their lives, I just find in my experience, men have this amazing ability to do what they need to for themselves without asking permission or carefully orchestrating what they need to bring it to fruition.  If they feel they need time away they just take it.  My fireman, his brothers, and father have this amazing bonding experience each year, whereby they plan a retreat for a weekend and adhere to it with some careful coordination of vacation time, which I might add takes some doing with all of them at different phases of their careers, and shift work, as there are three firefighters, and one high-ranking police officer, in addition to my retired father-in-law.  They usually go to our cabin in Upstate NY, in the rustic woods of 15 acres, but have made it all the way to Charlotte, North Carolina, to see a NASCAR race, a present they bought for my father-in-law who is a huge NASCAR, Dale Jr. fan.  I think it’s wonderful that my fireman has this time with his father and brothers, it is his soul’s sabbatical I suppose, and there is nothing that feels unwarranted or apologetic in his need to take this time for himself.

With women, it is far different.  It is that idea of abandoning the familiar, that notion of the family failing to survive without us, and the fear that doing so will set are soul on fire, to further seek our truth, and finally listen to what it is saying when we quiet our minds and let ourselves feel.  I have to admit, after years of being in a constant state of frenetic doing, running with three kids, running a small but thriving auto repair shop, in between periods of trying to earn my degree, I have been so busy in seemingly constant motion that I don’t remember the last time I sat down to truly feel.  Even in those rare moments that I can quiet my mind long enough in my morning meditation, I am many times phoning in the stillness of my mind so I can make a mad dash to get ready for work, or pull off ten minutes of blogging.   It isn’t until recently that I have begun taking more time for myself, and in doing so, have finally begun to really feel again.  I think many women feel this way.  You have a career, or maybe you’re finishing your degree, you get married, have a child or two, or three, and suddenly life dictates how you will spend your days.  It is no longer a question of what you will do, for you are now busy doing…carpools, sports from season to season, getting employer taxes to the accountant, paying bills, food shopping, and suddenly in the blink of an eye 20 years of motherhood is upon you and you barely recognize that face in the mirror, and are just seeing the lines that are just forming by your eyes, and you’re left pondering how to reinvent yourself now that you have some semblance of a life, outside of being a wife and Mom.  So in those quiet moments in the wee small hours, you contemplate your soul’s next move, and plot the logistics of it all, until it feels like with some careful doing, maybe you can make this bitch happen.  Yes, your family will no doubt balk at the idea at first, your hubs will probably think you’ve lost your mind, nothing new for me there, but if you listen to the stillness of your soul, and let it rise up above the din of self-doubt, teens arguing, and pessimistic babble, you can begin to see it take shape, and see how ready you are for this to come to fruition.

So I am thinking that 2018, may finally be the year of my soul sabbatical.  Deep in the woods, or maybe holed up in some seaside cottage, spending time getting re-acquainted with myself, and finding out what I truly want the next part of my life to be.  Don’t mistake that I haven’t loved the first part, because it was all I ever wanted to be a wife and Mom, but now I think my soul is ready to truly recognize its other important mission, and I am so ready to put my self out there and forge a career that I love, and finally have something that feels authentic, honest, and the essence of who I was meant to be.

I urge you all to find your bliss and pursue what makes your soul sing.  We get this one life, why not make it the best it can be, and let it fill us with sweet, crazy, sexy joy?

** Wishing you and your family the happiest and healthiest New Year!  May this be the best year yet, and may you let your soul sing with the beauty of you!  I will keep writing, I know you’re secretly thrilled, ha, ha, and hoping you find one fucking takeaway each time, have a laugh or two, and keep coming back for more!

I am truly blessed and thankful for the support you have given me as I come up on almost a year since I launched this humble blog, you my friends from my hood, high school, adulthood, my family, (you know who you are) and my fellow bloggers, whom I respect and admire for all the hard work and dedication you put into your craft,  I  thoroughly enjoy reading your blogs!


Susan xoxo


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