the decision

The DECISION – My Southern Sabbatical

“Just hit send” – that was my husband’s advice as I hovered over the message I had written giving my resignation.

The idea of a sabbatical had always sounded intriguing and in under five minutes I could come up with my typical Type-A laundry list of all the things I would do if only I had the time. It’s a fun exercise and one that I often entertained while stuck on long layovers in the Atlanta airport. But to actually do it?

As it became clear that I was ready to move away from the life I had worked so hard to build in search of a new professional opportunity, the idea of a break in between the transition crept in. With our eldest child starting her senior year, it was not ideal timing to start a new job or be away for training and all that goes along with learning a new role. It was, however, excellent timing to take that elusive break and savor every last moment before our house’s daily occupancy dropped from five to four.

Of course my old friend whose name is a four letter word starting with ‘F’ had plenty of helpful advice as I was grappling with this enormous life change… “You will be letting people down – how can you do that? Don’t you like everyone and appreciate all the opportunities you have been given?”

When guilt didn’t work my old pal Fear moved on with a bit of desperation and panic.  “What if everyone forgets about you and the economy tanks and our President starts a war and college tuition doubles and a tree falls on your house and your homeowners insurance won’t pay?  What will you do?? Why do you want to throw your life away???”

But somehow I could see past these paper thin arguments to stay put. This is not a condemnation of the life I was leading but rather a leap toward something new that fits the here-and-now more comfortably.  Shut your trap, Fear, and take your guilt on down the road!

So I hit send. And it was liberating and empowering and poop-your-pants scary.

After nearly a decade of fun, building something great and traveling the globe – my heart, mind, and intuition told me it was time to let it go. So I did. So I am.

12 Comments
  • Garth Graham
    Posted at 22:42h, 15 July Reply

    I love this. We need to dream, be critical of those dreams, then chase the ones that resonate with who we are at the core… And these dreams don’t pop up during the 50-60hr work weeks to which many of us grow accustomed. I did this recently as well, chasing a wild idea… Feeling inspired, scared, energised, and vulnerable. Congrats for taking the leap!

  • Jim Bishop
    Posted at 23:25h, 15 July Reply

    Hooray Jessica. I’m excited to follow along in this journey. God speed.

  • Heather Kilpatrick
    Posted at 06:00h, 16 July Reply

    Jess,
    You made a courageous decision. Your family will support you and love you even more because you will be around for all the special moments.
    Congratulations!

  • Mandy Pearl
    Posted at 06:05h, 16 July Reply

    Congratulations Jessica! Way to smash those fears – those lies we tell ourselves to stick with what we know. Amazing things are in store for you, I’m sure! Enjoy your time and your family!

  • Rick Singleton
    Posted at 11:03h, 16 July Reply

    You put what is most important in life 1st. Like Rob always told us, faith and family should come 1st. When we look back at our lives, we won’t say wish I had worked more or had more money. It will always be about the time with family and friends. Have fun and enjoy.

  • Kristi baker
    Posted at 16:32h, 16 July Reply

    Congrats on conquering the fear and taking the next step – that’s so hard! Wishing you well in your journey!

  • Nancy Wethington
    Posted at 23:18h, 16 July Reply

    Jessica, don’t look back…..you will love your freedom and wonder how you juggled it all for the 10 years that you did. You will see that you’ve made the right decision for you and you’re family. Thanks for all you did while you were at Elanco. You made a great team mate! Congratulations on this leap of faith!!❤️

  • Craig Prior
    Posted at 09:50h, 17 July Reply

    Jessica,
    good for you!! LIfe is short, there’s so much else to do than work, which will always be there to suck the life out of you!! Go have fun. That’s what I’m doing!! My son Bryce just graduated from Purdue and is moving to LA for a job. So we’ve just spent 6 weeks together having fun, and now driving to LA on a fun, fun road-trip. Times like these are precious and can never be replaced!!!
    Proud of you – go, enjoy!
    Yell at me sometime, we can do lunch and catch up.
    cheers,
    Craig

  • Amy Marvaso
    Posted at 17:06h, 18 July Reply

    Congratulations, Jess! I am both proud and inspired by you and your courageous decision. I sit here evaluating the golden handcuffs that are my benefits package including a 401K and dental insurance. With baby number 3 on the way and one already in braces, I wonder about the juggling routine of savoring the little things with my young boys and being a responsible parent with a pension. I look forward to following you on your journey. Good luck to you, friend, and God Bless. XXX Amy

  • Chelsea Spencer Smith
    Posted at 06:26h, 24 August Reply

    Good stuff Jessica! I love your willingness to take care of yourself emotionally, mentally and spirtually. You and your family will be blessed by this experience. Wishing you all the best on your new journey!!

  • Gregory S Francis
    Posted at 07:36h, 01 September Reply

    Wow Jessica! Good for you! Way to ignore the fear and go for it! I’m sure you’ll be looking back at this decision and wondering why you didn’t do it sooner. God’s very best to you, my friend! Go make a new life for you, your family, and friends.

  • The Epiphany that Lead Me to a Sabbatical - Midlife Intermission
    Posted at 14:20h, 03 October Reply

    […] So I got my finances in order, told the people closest to me, and wrote the resignation email… and then I hit send. […]

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