Now or never

I just got an email from Orbitz, asking: “Are you ready for your trip on 6/16?”

We have four weeks to go in Jerusalem. It feels like yesterday I was marking four weeks here. It’s funny — people from home keep writing to me: “I can’t believe how fast it has gone!” It’s like, before they even had a chance to miss us, back we came!

At least at this millisecond, I’m feeling a sense of peace. Our race pace has worked well. I think we’ll leave just before we burn out, go broke, become jaded, max out our iPhoto storage, or (for the girls) completely outgrow all our clothes and shoes.

With four weeks left, the mantra of our year — now or never! — beats in our ears. I made my “bucket list” of people to see, new places to discover and favorites to re-visit, and I’ve been working through it steadily. This involves grabbing opportunities (free admission for International Museum Day? Go to all the Jerusalem museums we haven’t yet seen…) and double-stacking events (a great day today, Shabbat lunch with friends-of-friends, followed by a beach afternoon). Despite this flurry of activity, I’ve felt uncharacteristically calm and realized today, with some surprise: I might actually get to do everything I wanted here. We’ve packed our time full, but not overwhelmingly so. I love the balance.

Of course, it’s easy to do all kinds of fun and adventurous stuff, including simply relax, when you’re on sabbatical and not working. As I hope I’ve always said loud and clear, this year was a luxury. How do we incorporate these new perspectives once we get back to “real life” with deadlines to meet, papers to grade? How can we keep living like we’re running down our sabbatical clock? I remember great friends of ours coming back from sabbatical with a new family routine: every year, each person would identify one experience, one dream, and they worked through those lists together. I love that idea, a quality-of-life to do list. Back in our regular lives, Terence and I are reasonably good at capitalizing on obvious windows — vacations, summers, and so on — but we could get more creative, more proactive, about creating opportunities. Whether or not we choose to acknowledge the fact, life is always now or never.

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About hilarymead

Taking two young kids, a great husband, and a whole lot of questions to Jerusalem for a year's sabbatical.
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