Credit to owner
It took me some time to admit that I had been a prickly hedgehog around people recently ; I’ve been in the fight or flight mode since I had announced my second sabbatical, a ‘mere’ 5 years from the first one.
I have only told the inner circle of family and friends and the responses resulting from that have been less than encouraging. Envy and judgement were the first things to hit. While it is possible to have both turning out positive vibes at the end, very few people are able to say ‘I think you know what you are doing and I am happy for you.’ .
Some are careful about what they say and ask about my plans for the break I am taking. I appreciate that because it makes me consider how I should wisely spend that time and think twice about the possibility of malaise setting in. Some even went as far as thinking about the economics of the situation for me, concerned about the affordability of the break. I found that a little intrusive but I appreciated it all the same.
However, other comments and sometimes pointed remarks casually slipped in under the guise of concern raise my hackles.
People are usually quick to judge, criticize and denounce based on perceived socially and culturally acceptable norms. I have had my fair share of that in my younger days but didn’t expect to be up in arms in my 40s. I thought I had heard enough to be sufficiently immune to unsolicited opinions. I couldn’t be more wrong.
People have what they deem as gold standards and any deviation is seen as a lack in some way. I’ve been viewed as weak, lazy, incompetent – really negative terms none of which would’ve been used to describe me if not for my being a misfit according to the saints that be. I could probably swallow if all that about me were true. But it is not. It cannot be further from the truth.
People also use ‘lucky’ a lot to describe my second sabbatical. It is a word associated with being given opportunities to do certain things otherwise difficult to do. If that is where the term is coming from, I would happily accept. But the term is, more often than not, said with some reference to chance and coincidence usually accompanied with sarcastic undertones. I think I know where that might come from, but it is not becoming to respond in jealousy.
Luck surely has something to do with opportunity but being able to grasp it when it is presented is the other aspect people often forget to take into account.
My life choices that are perceived to be different from the norm have sometimes made me feel like I have become mediocre. People around me are not helping with their narrow worldview. For one who used to be at the top of the game, it’s a pill that is hard to swallow. Five years on, it hasn’t gotten any easier.
But I know the only reason why I am feeling this way is that I have allowed myself to be affected – the shame is on me. But that people think they can impose views and judge others on repeat is juvenile – the shame has become theirs to bear.
I journeyed on my first sabbatical with scant support. I am quite sure I can do the same for the one upcoming.