Why I’m Taking a 1 Year Break From Work
Choosing my physical and mental well-being over the financial blanket that wrapped me in the warmth of mediocrity was the single most good thing that happened to me last week — I submitted my resignation.
After having worked as a programmer for Corporate Giants for more than a decade I decided to take an adult gap year, starting this November (I still need to serve my 2 months notice period) till October 2022.
This is not the first time I’m leaving a job or company but this time was different. Every time I planned to move out of one I would have a bright future to look forward to, something to be excited about. Either it was for a better paycheck or a better role but this time when I decided to move I had a blank page to stare at. I had no plans and up until a few days back had lost all hopes as well.
Work is where all of us spend most of our time and energy on a daily basis and if that time is not well spent on things that we enjoy or matters to us, it’s inevitable that we will feel miserable. To worsen things, some people might also have a bad boss, toxic work culture, or the feeling of being unappreciated. Upon piling up, these feelings can become soul crippling and baggage that becomes too heavy to carry.
I was there so I know it but what I didn't have was the courage to decide and take a plunge into uncertainty. I waited for the circumstances to miraculously change, that I would be happy at work again sooner or later.
One fine morning, I woke up to find my pet fish - Bluetooth, dead. I looked at him in disbelief for a long time, everything around him was still the same, his tank, the aqua plant with long roots where Bluetooth used to play, and the tiny food particles that he was yet to consume, everything was the same but one life was missing. I thought it could be me one day, everything else would still be the same and I would be gone.
That’s when I started questioning my life choices — Do I need to make my life this miserable and do nothing to take a path that would be all mine? Am I that incapable of change? Am I not a fighter? So the first thing I thought was — can I survive for 6 months without a job? If I reduce my expenses I can easily stretch my savings to support expenses for 6 months, next thing I thought of was to raise the fund a little more so I could extend the break to 1 year, so I sold my car.
If you are in a similar situation and unsure about your life and purpose then start creating your backup plan first. Chances are, you already have the backup if you are willing to alter your lifestyle. Bring down the expenses and build up the savings, sell anything that’s not an absolute necessity.
Happiness is a state of mind, that is achieved through love and care. Our mind needs attention as much as our physical body does. People hit the gym to stay fit and sometimes to undo the damage done by a desk job but we often neglect the damages done to our minds by the toxicity around us. We are responsible to take care of our mental health as much as we take care of our physical well-being.
I have decided to reclaim my happiness and take the path of self-discovery and inner peace and to start with, these are the 3 activities that I’m dedicating my time and energy into.
These are a few of my favorite lines from Tagore’s Gitanjali
“Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action”
Even though the poem was written in the context of India’s Independence, I think these lines are also relevant to personal freedom. Where the mind is free and not shackled by the chains of societal expectations and norms — I believe we would all find our long-lost smile back there.
A busy lifestyle often results in crappy food habits. We don’t find time to think and plan a healthy diet and end up eating junk and ready-to-eat processed foods.
Finding time to change this lifestyle and take control of my food habits is a top priority these days. Feeling good about the right choices and the impact it has on the body is a motivational booster.
Books and Coffee
Yes, I’m a bit dramatic!
Coffee and Books are not just romantic thoughts but are inseparable in my case. I need them side by side as I flip through the pages of my favorite books and when the mind wanders through the unchartered territories of imagination and possibilities.
What makes you happy is up to you to decide but there is no debate about who can reclaim your happiness — That’s You!
I will leave these lines here for your mind to snack on from the famous poem “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou
The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill for the caged bird
sings of freedom