Four months ago, I left my job at Bonusly to take a sabbatical.
After a few years of growing paid media responsibilities and results at Bonusly, I was burned out and needed to take a break. I had some savings and had always wanted to try a sabbatical, so I decided to pursue an active recovery filled with personal projects including gardening, volunteering, and making art.
Here’s how I wanted to invest my new free time:
- Enjoy springtime in Boulder to the maximum extent possible by walking, hiking, biking, and lounging in parks. Get fit by doing things I enjoy.
- Learn and practice permaculture through volunteering at a friend’s homestead and going to as many community agriculture events as possible. Shout out to Flatirons Young Farmers Coalition for putting on some really entertaining and educational events.
- Improve my performance as treasurer at the Boulder Emergency Squad, Boulder County’s volunteer search and rescue agency. The BES leadership team does a lot of administrative work to make search and rescue sustainable; it’s a really important cause, but can also be stressful when you’re also working a full-time job.
- Make art, specifically mobiles. Experiment with different forms and materials. Practice getting good by making a lot and not worrying too much about quality. Learn more about artists that I like, including Alexander Calder, Keith Haring, Milton Glaser, and Maya Lin.
- Invest in maintaining and repairing my stuff instead of jumping to “buy something new off Amazon”. Buying used and local when I need something I don’t already have.
- Bring order to my living space by selling or giving away stuff that I wasn’t using anymore, and re-organizing the rest.
- Work through my backlogs of books and video games.
- Share more of what I’m working on and thinking about through my website and social media (practicing permaculture and making mobiles) so that people know what I’m up to and can maybe find a bit of inspiration.
I'm happy to report that I've been able to do all of these things in some capacity, but I'm still practicing getting the most out of my break. Just because you’re not working doesn’t mean that you’re on vacation and it takes a lot of discipline and work to get what you want out of a sabbatical.
If you're thinking about taking a sabbatical, currently on sabbatical, or have taken a sabbatical in the past, I'd love to chat about your experience - email me!