Updated: Oct 24, 2019
While it may be true that change is a permanent part of our lives, it doesn’t mean that all changes are permanent.
If the idea of doing something significantly different with your life is intimidating, it might be because you’re assuming that once you make a change, there’s no going back. Yet, that may not necessarily be true.
Perhaps you need a life sabbatical.
Off Again On Again
A sabbatical—most typically associated with academic careers—offers a person time away from normal routines in order to focus on a project of special significance. A scholar, for instance, may need a few months—maybe even a year—off from teaching in order to research and write a book. This sort of sabbatical implies that the person will return to his or her previous way of life after a specified period of time.
But what if you didn’t commit to returning to a previous way of life?
And didn’t commit to a certain period of time?
What if you just didn’t want to keep doing life in whatever way you’re doing it and wanted to try something different, at least for a while?
The idea of doing Different temporarily might make it easier to take a life-refreshing step you’ve been considering.
When I began to seriously consider leaving my corporate job and take steps to become self-employed, a good friend asked me this question: “A year from now, if you start your own business and it doesn’t work out, will you regret trying?”
I instantly knew the answer was “no.” I’d rather fail trying that not to try at all.
Although I didn’t recognize it at the time, the implication of my answer was that the change didn’t have to be permanent. I could always go back and “get a job” again.
That’s the way to handle the inner see-saw we sometimes feel about making a big change. “Different” doesn’t have to be permanent. You could do Different just for a season.
If it doesn’t work (see my blog “A Vine-Ripened Vision” about trying the next thing if “this doesn’t work”) or—even better—if you satisfy your need to do something Different and then decide to return to whatever your earlier “normal” was, you’ve satisfied a desire and learned a lot in the process.
Life is big enough to contain a variety of ways to live along the way.
Maybe your desire to do Different will lead you down a path you’ll never want to get off of. Or maybe it will open up a life sabbatical—a chance to do something else for a while.
If realizing you don’t have to commit to “forever” helps you make a move, then let that be okay. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break to fulfill some greater need than merely to “keep on keeping on.”
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