Oh life change! I successfully moved away from the beautiful, picturesque, seaport, artist community of Port Townsend, Washington to the well landscaped, hilly, rocky, suburban neighborhood of Las Vegas called Henderson. I bought my first home, enrolled my 10 year old into fifth grade, spent a great deal of time furnishing my new home and find myself in the throws of my sabbatical.
I am going into the sixth month since shutting down my jewelry design business, maybe forever. You see I had moved in with my father three and a half years ago to care for him as he had dementia. September before last he fell in front of our house and just over 2 months later he passed. I am coming up on the one year mark of his passing and the sadness and loneliness are undeniable. I thought how freeing it would be to not have to work for a minute. I did not anticipate the boredom, the lack of energy, the lack of motivation, and the sense of feeling unimportant. My career was who I was, who I identified with, now I’m feeling like I don’t have an identity. Like my life has no value. I think if I could travel I wouldn’t feel so worthless. My dads house hasn’t sold yet in Washington and this has left me a bit cash poor, so I am housebound. I have dreams about jewelry, collaborations, being creative. I know I have more in me but I know I can’t do anything about it right now. Financially, I am stuck, creatively, I am blocked.
I googled “sabbatical”. I’m not sure why. Maybe to remind myself that there is value in the artistic break. I knew I wasn’t putting my best foot forward in my career anymore. It was a means to survival, not an outlet for my suppressed brain. I was stifled. I was working in a less than conducive environment for creative thought. My studio was filled with spiderwebs, rats, cold wind, dirt, mold. You see it was my dads lower garage basement filled with old boxes, a water heater that burst, and large rats trying to get into the house. I had a gorgeous view of the Puget sound outside the garage door, but that led to more melancholy than productivity. So how do I convince myself that this sabbatical is worthwhile, necessary? I should note that just after my move I took myself off of every medication the doctors ever gave me in the last 7 years. Dangerous? Maybe. Necessary, for sure. However, here I sit, unmedicated, bored, restless, lethargic, sad and lonely. Also, not conducive to a creative brain. They say a six month or longer sabbatical is an opportunity to recharge and renew. This I believe. I have ideas for new creative outlets including a clothing store where I can curate other artists and designers, and a non-profit which would teach young women how to make jewelry, start businesses and mentor them in ways in which they have never been privy to. All of this, however, will have to wait until the sale of my dads house so I’m sort of being forced into this sabbatical. I think if I learn how to make it more productive, understand the emotions behind this time off, and do some due diligence with regards to research, I can obtain the large benefits to this rest period and come back to the workforce full blast, recharged and whole.
So here is to the sabbatical. Artists, teachers, corporate heads alike can benefit from the transformation qualities an extended break can achieve. Learn to work through the guilt, the useless emotions and figure out how best to make this time work for you and allow your brain to work its wonders.