How to end a sabbatical

One of the reasons I started this blog was that I couldn’t find the kinds of resources I wanted to help me plan and prepare for my sabbatical. So it should come as no surprise that there are even fewer resources to help me end my sabbatical.

Yesterday I realized that I had only three weeks remaining before returning to work. A friend pointed out that if you offered most people a three-week vacation, they’d be thrilled – it would seem like a luxurious amount of time. To look at it another glass-half-full way, I still have about 20% of my sabbatical remaining. Not bad.

Still, I’m starting to feel some urgency and some anxiety about the remaining time. Several months before my sabbatical, I had the opportunity to attend a leadership training program, and as part of that experience I was assigned an executive coach. In a follow-up conversation a few weeks before my leave, I asked her for her thoughts about “re-entry” into work, and if I should use the week or so before returning to start getting caught up, checking email, etc. “Absolutely not!”, was her immediate reply. “Your sabbatical is your time until the moment you walk back into your office.” That’s been my guiding principle, and I’m confident I can stick to it.

But the question remains as to what to do with the time that is left. There are no great adventures on the horizon, but neither are there any big things I feel like I must do. Many of the goals I had for this time have been accomplished. I have learned, traveled, explored my hometown, nurtured relationships, exercised, read, reflected, gotten organized. Still, a part of me feels like I need to produce something, or have something more concrete to hold up to others to justify having taken this time. (One could argue that this blog could be that “something”, I guess.)

So that’s where I am on this beautiful Wednesday morning. Not yet counting down the days remaining, to be sure, but mindful that those days are few, and should be used well.


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