I’m running quite late getting started on this whole idea of a gap year.
Three decades late. Usually it happens in your 20’s.
I spent the most recent decade getting my work and life integrated in a way that it all flows together. Finally. Is it possible I’m having another later-mid-life crisis? Have I been over-influenced by Cheryl Strayed’s adventures in Wild? Or the founder of Tom’s Shoes? Or Patagonia?
Even one of my favorite writers, Mark Twain, backpacked over the Alps on a mule last century!
Officially, the UK invented gap years in the 1970s – the concept jumped to the States in the 1980’s. By then, I was working. Living in Zurich now, I hear about gap years from friends and colleagues. The idea, according to the American Gap Association is to increase self-awareness, learn about different cultural perspectives, and experiment with future possible careers.
I suppose especially that last bit sounds well past its prime for me. Yet these days, 10 years from now I might actually need a next career step, too.
And so I’d been mulling this over and came upon the idea that there must be a way for those of us who have somewhat less adventurous tastes and a life we have have managed to develop in a way that we want to (or must) continue to cultivate, to still make-up for lost time so-to-speak. Turn that hand on the “life watch” back a little.
I realized of course – maybe with some moments of melancholy – that I cannot turn time back. What I CAN do is be aware of how I’m taking it forward and try to get some of the same experience from where I find myself now.
So. I decided I’d just try it. Came up with some activities. Extended the time to 16 months because I really do enjoy my day job. Discussed my crazy idea with our team, who thankfully are 100% supportive and do not (at least publicly) say I’m nuts.
As of this month, it begins – a Gap Year, ungapped and with my own twist on the required luggage.