This year I received the amazing gift of Sabbatical from Rally, the company where I work. I am grateful beyond words for this privilege. As I near the end of the time that I set aside for projects, I can tell you this: Sabbatical is so sacred, I have to capitalize it.

Going into Sabbatical I had a plan for what I wanted to accomplish, but (so far) I haven’t even come close. I don’t consider this a failure, rather, I’ve learned so much more by delaying those projects that I can approach them now from a deeper perspective.

This is the first of two posts about the 11 things I learned in the last three weeks I’ve spent in Kauai. (I will spend the remaining three weeks simply enjoying friends and family.)

  1. Know how to spell SabbaticalTwo b’s, not two t’s.
  2. Stop and think before trading work. I was about to launch directly into one (or more) of three writing projects I had lined up. Luckily, I decided to first take a survey of my friends and family to determine which might be the most valuable project for my readers.As I waited for the results, I realized that I had nearly traded one type of work for another without taking any time to rest or consider what I was doing. This is what I do every day—move directly from one project or task to another, or worse, do many at once. Years fly by this way. When I slowed down, so did time.
  3. Take time to be and rememberTwo friends made remarks in their survey responses that resonated with this topic. One said, “I’m a human being, not a human doing.” Another said, “I want to re-learn how to be a child again”. Both were making a point about taking time to examine who they were at this point in their life, who they wanted to become, and how they wanted to see the world going forward.I had a golden opportunity to fully experience every single moment in a very beautiful place and consider these questions for myself. In taking that time to stop and just be, I remembered many things that I had forgotten about the activities I loved, the way I saw the world, and the person I was before I had the time demands and responsibilities that I have now. I was amazed at all the joys I had forgotten. Now I can reclaim them.
  4. Who I was is who I’m supposed to be. The act of looking back enabled me to rediscover that core person—the one who is still there beneath all the distractions of daily life. Over the years I had become more cynical and less wonder-full. Remembering showed me the contrasts.The good news is that it’s easy to repossess that positive and optimistic outlook and reconnect with all those old joys and interests. But in order to do this, I must stop, rest, and be on a regular basis. Probably every day.
  5. Talking is overrated. My family is going to keel over when they read this because I can be a bit of a jabberwocky, especially in the morning. I know at least two people at home and perhaps two more at work who are going to be very happy if I talk less in those early hours. They knew something I didn’t—silence is restful and sometimes necessary to continue functioning.  So now I’ll boot up slowly, like Windows. We’ll see how I do for the rest of the day. Baby steps.

In the next post I will continue (in no particular priority order) with my list of learnings. In the meantime I hope you can take time to stop, rest and be (quiet). Sleeping doesn’t count.