That went by fast. Sabbatical, I mean. I am back on contract, although I do not start teaching until next week.
I had an official Sabbatical project and it did not get finished — but it will. Other opportunities presented and I took advantage of those; in addition, there was Berkeley’s health crisis. (Note: There is still no explanation for the continued need to watch her blood sugar).
One opportunity was to co-author a book chapter about loss and grief of people in prison who socialize/train — and then relinquish — shelter dogs. It is a way for people whose mistakes cost them freedom to give back and learn skills, but yes — it sets up a vulnerable population for loss. The book will be published soon.
Another opportunity was to join a team evaluating a large federal grant that seeks to improve behavioral health care of children and adolescents in Montana — so needed. This is a large and sparsely populated state; Montana has about the same population as Rhode Island, but is 147 times bigger. This means services people take for granted in other areas are simply not available, and our suicide rate is appalling and sad.
Related — a third opportunity was recording for a podcast. We recorded over twelve hours but who knows what the production team will decide to do with it; the topics — loss, grief, suicide, and schools.
There were other things interspersed, including maintaining my involvement on another federal grant related to behavioral health in primary health clinics — but the bottom line is that Sabbatical is over.
I know how lucky I am to have a job that permits such a thing, but as you can see from above it is definitely not a long work-free vacation by any means. Rather, a sabbatical is a way to change the mental channels to something different for a while, and I suspect we could all benefit from that — even dogs!
It occurs to me that every day presents sabbatical opportunities.
When we choose to do something in a different way — or to not do something we usually do — we are giving ourselves a mini-break from what is usual and routine.
I love it.
As I end my year-long Sabbatical, I am going to look for ways to have micro-sabbaticals. It doesn’t have to be complicated or hard — just doing something different to cause a bit of a mental shift.
Use a different and special coffee cup, walk a new way to work, wear happy socks, drive to work in silence (or not), try a new sandwich, train the dog in a new behavior, avoid the news for a day, and so on.
Taking a break from what is ordinary is wonderful. And it makes going back to ordinary somehow new again.
So bring on the semester — I am ready! And I will do my best to use micro-sabbaticals on a regular basis to maintain my enthusiasm.
The best part of a micro-sabbatical? You don’t have to apply for one — you just do it. Perfect! Let’s all get busy.