Friday, September 22, 2017

Smile Because It Happened


“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – often attributed to Dr. Seuss

My 10 weeks of leave of absence from work is almost over.  On Monday I go back to work.  I wanted to extend it to mid-October, but they really wanted me back at work for quarter-end.  I feel so wistful today.  I can honest say that I’ve had the most amazing time the last 2.5 months.  The best time of my adult life.  I’m so grateful for the opportunity to take this leave from work.  I would highly recommend anyone to do it if they can.  It makes me look forward to the day that I can “retire” from work, hopefully in a few years!

I have a few more posts to document my life the last 2-3 weeks, but it may not happen until this weekend or next weekend.  However, I wanted to write a summary post of how I feel about my leave of absence from work, and also what I’ve learned during this time.

  • Don’t put your life on hold because of work demands, stress, or pressure.  I was giving the best of myself during work time, and the rest of my life was getting the shaft.  I was exhausted when I got home, and vegged out the rest of the evening.  I felt like a big slug.  I was not socializing with friends as much, because it just felt like I didn’t have the energy.  With everything going on at work lately (layoffs, massive changes, etc), my work friends and I have come to the sad conclusion that the corporation/company that you work for doesn’t really care about you.  They can get rid of you in a hot second.  So to think that you would be rewarded for putting in a ton of extra effort and time is foolish.  This is a hard lesson for me, since I am Type A overachiever personality.  But it is something that I really had to learn for myself.  Working extra hard and putting the rest of my life on hold did not get me any rewards at work.  It will not happen again.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me!
  • Exercising is a priority.  I exercised 6 days per week during my leave.  I will continue to do so after I go back to work.  I had forgotten how many benefits there are to exercising regularly.  I talked about why I was able to stick to regular exercising this time in this post.  My body felt so great when I moved it every day.  I really enjoyed the types of exercises I was doing.  My daily energy level improved so much.  And daily exercising improved my overall mood.  I’m so glad that I was able to totally reset my relationship with exercising, and was able to do it consistently almost every single day.  This was one of my intentions for my leave, and I did it.  I will continue to do it.
  • Make time for friends and family.  Social support is everything.  Before my leave, I was not socializing with friends as much.  It just felt like it was a big effort, after I had already “shot my wad” during the week at work.  This was totally wrong.  During my leave I was able to schedule social time with a friend every week, if not twice a week.  I loved hanging out with them and chatting.  It really gave me a sense of social support, and that I matter and I am cared for.  I saw my dad and Shelly and hung out with them.  I made a trip to Dallas to see my sister and her family.  All this was precious to me.  I will continue to make time for friends and family. 
  • Sleeping is a priority.  We often have the mentality that sleep is the time leftover after we do all our other things.  We are short-changing ourselves on something that’s vastly important for our health.  Staying up to watch TV, watch movies, read, surf the internet, etc is totally not worth it.  Sleep is when our bodies regenerate.  Lack of sleep is related to a host of health issues.  Instead of thinking of sleep as depriving ourselves of doing those other things we want to do, we should think of sleep as the ultimate “me time”.  During my leave I was able to reset my sleeping habits and got 7-9 hours of sleep regularly.  It really made a big difference in my overall well-being. 

I thought I was going to get more accomplished during my leave.  Things like house projects, purging, cleaning, organizing, etc.  But I hardly got those things done.  I’ve come to realize those are secondary to my primary intentions above.  I mean, I can hire people to do these secondary things, but only I myself can do the priority things above.  Those were absolutely up to me, and they were the most urgent things that I needed to change about myself.  So in that respect I feel very accomplished and awesome! 

I feel nothing but gratefulness that I was able to take 10 weeks off work.  Grateful to my manager for allowing it to happen, at great cost to him and my team.  Grateful to Todd for supporting me.  I  have never felt happier in my adult life.  I will do everything I can to carry this knowledge and these changes forward.  Onwards and upwards!


  1. You liked the exercise so much some days were "2-a-day"!

  2. Man, that went by quick! Maybe you will be able to take another break again even if it is not as long.


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