Late last week – my husband would say, on a whim, I decided that what I needed most was time off from work. The inspiration was this video by Stefan Stagmeister, who takes an entire year off every seven years. I have been self-employed since I was 23. Next April marks my 30th year in business and I have never taken a solid block of time off. Even with the birth of each of my three kids, I typically headed back to work, infant in tow, when they were 2 weeks old. (Only exception being my last, Gabriel, who, perhaps, benefited by me being 44 when he was born. Was I older and wiser? Nah, just older and tireder.) Not surprisingly I was in therapy for close to three years in my early 20s dealing with workaholism (the only “ism” in American culture that is rewarded).
Time off comes with guilt – it is an American thing. Studies show that U.S. employees rarely take their full vacation time allotted them each year. And yet, here I am working with employees and encouraging them to imagine their ideal day – to envision their future and to live a more balanced life. Well, let’s just say it is time I walk that talk. I will let you know how it goes – back at the computer on January 4th – 6 weeks to the day from writing this message. Guilty, giddy and grateful all describe the emotions I’ve felt since I made the decision on Friday. Let’s hope on January 4, 2016, I can add the feelings of more creative, more calm and more captivating to the list.