I’ve often said everyone should get a year off when they turn 50. A year to just reflect, rejuvenate, re-evaluate, and regroup. A chance to travel and explore and learn and do before old age or infirmities or plain old life interfere. I’ve had the privilege of spending a lot of time with people in their 80s and 90s and often hear them express this regret, “I wish I hadn’t put off the things I wanted to do until retirement. I wish I had done them sooner when I was younger and stronger and healthier and not so tied down.” I’ve seen so many people make grand plans for their retirement, only to die or become incapacitated before they get the chance. No seriously, read the obituaries.

I vowed when I was a teenager I would never put off life waiting for just the right time. I have young friends who feel now is not the time to travel or take up a new hobby or pursue their art because they lack sufficient funds or need to get their careers off the ground or just bought a new house. And I have middle-aged friends who feel now is not the time to travel or take up a new hobby or pursue their art because they are helping a child plan a wedding or sharing in the childcare of their grandchildren or tending to aging parents. It seems we always feel there will be a time to do the things that bring us joy, but that time is always “not yet.”

But I don’t operate that way. I’m not taking any chances with my dreams. I’m following them now, as I always have. So I’m leaving soon for a six-week sabbatical so I can reflect, rejuvenate, re-evaluate, and regroup. The word sabbatical often refers to time off college professors receive for the purpose of travel or study. I’m not a college professor, but who says I don’t deserve a sabbatical too?  I’m not viewing this as a vacation, but as a growth opportunity, much as the term sabbatical suggests. I’m leaving, though, without a set goal or intention. I’m just going to see where my thoughts, instincts, and passion take me. This is not something I’ve ever done, and that’s the point. If there were ever a good time to do it, it’s now.

And what about you? Do your goals, hopes, and dreams truly matter, or do you just say they do? Is it time yet?

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