A bunch of years ago my then hairdresser decided to cut back his hours by taking off every other weekend. He said he had been working steady for x number of years and was tired. I’d like to say I was happy for him and supported his decision. But that would not be totally true! Since I always went to see him on Saturdays (as I worked during the week), his reduced availability for me was a major inconvenience. And, he was younger than me; he didn’t see me reducing my work hours, did he?!

That was then. Now I so get where he was coming from. Taking a sabbatical from work, while fraught with uncertainties about the future, feels cleansing. I’m spending a lot of time alone as my schedule is now out-of-sync with most of the rest of the world. Truth be told, I feel like I’m existing in a parallel universe, which is close to everyone else’s but not quite the same. It hasn’t been easy; daily I struggle with the part of me who says that I should do as many concrete things as I can to figure out what kind of work I want to do next and the part of me that says, give it time, it will all become clear. This latter voice says, “use this amazing opportunity to do, well, whatever you want! Catch your breath, try new things, and just be…see what happens.”

I might be making this sound better than it is. It is lonely and there is always a voice somewhere which is worrying about the future. But it is still good; does that make any sense at all? I’ve always wanted to figure out who I really am. And I believe I need silence to do that. This pause in my working life is providing the quiet and taking away the distractions.

One of my most favorite things to do is to get up before dawn and walk on the beach. The image of me walking on the beach has been calling to me lately so I’m going to go for a couple of days next week. I don’t know what I expect to find by going as doing so will take me even deeper into solitude, but I want to learn to trust my inner voice and it is this voice which is telling me to go. So I’m going.

This is such an interesting time in my life. I can feel fundamental things about myself shifting. My relationships are shifting. I find myself feeling incredibly grateful. For the gift of time and for the silence.

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