The thought of this sabbatical has set my brain racing. The papers are in, they're signed by Popeye and me and waiting on the signature of a big wig in Sydney, but there's a very real possibility that as of 8 October, I'll be walking out of Tin Can, String and Whistle for nearly seven months.
The next question is what am I going to do once 8 October rolls around? Thankfully the first five weeks of this sabbatical are taken. I'll be in Singapore, Malaysia, the United States, Holland, Spain and England. Technically the sabbatical wont kick in until the first of November, the time before that will be paid holiday. On that date I should be swanning around Madrid.
That's the holiday I'm taking with the free airline tickets I won back in January. I'm fully accepting of the fact that the whole marathon is not going to happen now. The pain in my side is still there, greatly diminished, but it flares when I run. I've lost two months of real training. There is no way I can let myself cover 42.2 kilometres at a jog pace. 20-30 kilometre at a walk/run maybe. We have to be realistic. Though I'm annoyed at being a bit broken in body, I'm being philosphical about it. The universe doesn't want me to run - I have to deal with it. However, it has fired me up to run a full marathon sometime in the next two years, with adequate training. A marathon is still on my bucket list.
Anyway, that leaves me returning to Australia in mid-November, without a job, with some money in the bank and the opportunity to do something else. Part of the terms of my sabbatical is that I don't do anything that may constitute a conflict of interest, so that means no working for competitors - but other than that. I'm free to do as I please, work where I want, go where I want to go.
Realistically, I'll get out there as soon as the jetlag subsides, find some short term contract work in IT, testing systems, writing doco, maybe even training, of which there is always stuff out there.I'll end up working the bulk of the sabbatical. The change will be good for me as things are rather stale and unsettled around here at the moment.
In the ideal world I would spend these six months writing, start that novel, get some articles published, set myself up as a proper writer. However, I need to pay the rent. And rent where I live aint cheap.
But I will let myself dream big for a bit.
There is also a part of me that says that if I won the lottery I'd pack everything in, sit the GAMSATs and try and get into Medical School. Yep, Doctor Panda. I'm quite happy being a holistic healer peddling reflexology, massage, reiki, aromatherapy, Reference Point Therapy and tarot - but there is this little voice that's always wanted to be a doctor. Pity I'd never be able to cope with the general public.
If not medicine, then architecture - but as I'm a failure at physics, that's probably not a good idea.
Training as a Personal Trainer has crossed my mind more than once over the last few years - I could spend some time doing that. Or go back to uni early next year and get my French back to scratch - or pick up another language - I love learning languages.
If I dreamed big or took a few risks I could go training. I could ping my friend Jonathan in London to take me on as a Shakespeare tutor for a few months, working with young actors to get soliloquies up to scratch.
If there was more of a market for it I could read tarot, heal, rub, chant and do everything else I do on weekends for a living - but the work, though lucrative as beer money, won't pay the rent. Also, if I do more than two clients a day over an extended period I get burnt out.
If I had half an ounce of courage I'd go for some outrageous job, just for the experience. Grave digger (squeamish around death) , pole dancer (chubby pole dancer with no grace - roight), trainee proctologist, bike courier (don't have enought tattoos or piercings for that)... just try something completely out of the ball park. They reckon these jobs are great fodder for writing.
All I know is that this change will be wonderful - I just have to make it that way.