I just started -- about 8 hours or so ago -- a one-year sabbatical from my oh-so-safe-and-secure government job. I used to love it, and maybe in some respects i still do, but ... really, I'm burned out. I need a break. I need to re-group and figure out how to define myself in ways that DON'T relate to my job.
The trouble is this: how the hell do I do that?? As a Type-A, over-achieving, first-born child, I am very used to the idea of defining myself by my academic or work accomplishments (both of which I have lots of). Problem is, I'm not going to be living that life for a year.
I'm going on sabbatical. I won't be showing up at my office until January 3rd, 2011.
That's a reaaaaalllllyyyy long time. (I have been hyper-ventilating for about the last four hours; however, tequila and singing karaoke appear to have helped calm my panic somewhat.) It's an even longer time when you define yourself primarily in terms of your job (as I have done for the last few years) and forget how to define yourself in personal, inter-personal, emotional terms. When you forget how to keep yourself open to new experiences and just go with the flow -- as I used to be pretty good at doing, but have forgotten how, somewhat, over the last few years.
I'm sure I'll figure it out. I have a lot of time to do so.
But it ain't gonna be easy. And in the meantime I may have a few panic attacks or minor meltdowns .. so bear with me. And remind me, occasionally, that I'm worth something outside of my job.