The original drawing I made when I was first thinking about taking a year off.
I get many questions about my 2012/13 sabbatical and how I approached it, so I put this page together to make it easier to access the posts from that year.

I hope you enjoy my story, and that it inspires you to take some time off for yourself someday.

Posts about the planning and progress of my sabbatical:

The Decision: 
The Plan:
  • I describe my general plan for the year, to approach the year in three parts, described at a high level here.
Part One:
  • My plans for the Part One, the Fall segment, are described here.
  • At the end of Part One, I reported back on how it went here.
Part Two:
  • I describe my plans for Part Two, the January through June segment, here.
  • I recorded observations at the halfway point of my year here in this post.
  • At the end of Part Two, I reported back on how it went here.
Part Three:
  • In this post, I wrapped up with some concluding thoughts about my sabbatical and what comes next. 

Posts about some of the things I did with my time:
  • I trained for and completed a half marathon.
  • I kept up with my weekly Project Life album.
  • I joined a weekly meditation group on Friday mornings.
  • I had a weekly artist date with my friend Kelly. (Click here to see our first completed project, and here to see a page from my new Art Journal.)
  • I attended a 6 week Parent Discussion Group run by Project Cornerstone.
  • hiked on most Thursday mornings, out in nature, with my sister.
  • I completed the monthly assignment from my One Little Word online class.
  • I started writing my first novel, as part of November's National Novel Writing month.
  • I subsequently signed up for a novel writing class through Stanford Continuing Studies to help me finish the novel I started in November.
  • I learned about blogging, and published regular blog posts.
  • I co-created a "30 Days of Thankful" album with my daughter, and a December Daily album.
  • I participated in the monthly meeting of the Silicon Valley Women Entrepreneurs, started by another mom at our school.
  • took an online class called Letter Lab to learn some techniques for making my hand lettering more impactful and attractive. 
  • I took an online painting class called Flower Crazy.
  • I conducted a candy making experiment once a month with a baker friend of mine.
  • I volunteered in my kids classrooms, and I took on little jobs like Art Coordinator, occasional Newsletter editor, and the PTO nominating committee. 
  • I did my first cleanse.
  • I stay active, with a weekly yoga class, and running.
  • I remodeled my kitchen, and added a half bath and laundry room.
  • Plus of course all the regular life kinds of things that take up more time than I expected... meal planning, grocery shopping, laundry, carpool, walking the dog, chauffeuring kids around, making dinner, planning trips, picking up the house, etc, etc, etc.  

Weekly Goals Posts (from the first 12 weeks of my year off. They helped me create momentum and document progress.)

Inspiration & Resources (if case you're thinking about a Sabbatical too):

  • I was encouraged at a key moment in my process by this Ted Talk by Stefan Sagmiester about his once-every-seven-years sabbatical tradition.
  • Reading Soule Mama was one of the early influences that got me really thinking about living a different kind of life (even if just for a while.)
  • I first took Ali Edward's One Little Word class in 2012 with my word "curious", and it was a huge help in staying focused on what mattered to me that year. 

Image credits: The green background paper on the graphic is from the Project Life digital paper collection, Cobalt edition. The "Life what you love" hand drawn saying is from Ali Edwards.