I’ve been in a break for over two years and it’s a journey I never expected to navigate. Who would have thought that the woman who is always on the move will be on a two-year sabbatical break? Neither do I. All I ever thought was I am going to seek good employment, get hired, do good, be promoted until I am at the top of the hierarchy. But fate made a major reroute and here I was.
But is not always rainbows, unicorns, and sleep. I have to fight the inner demons giving me negative commentaries that may or may not be true. Thoughts like “Why is this happening to me? Am I not good enough? Maybe it is not for me” took over me as I witness my batchmates getting good jobs at prestigious companies. At many points, these words clouded my vision of the future and I got stuck in one place.
Thanks also for the respect and support my family and my friends gave me. If not for their guidance and enlightenment, this phase would have been a dark one and I wouldn’t enjoy every step of the way.
Looking back now, I realized how grateful I am for this blessing in disguise. A gap year provided me with benefits I will never earn if I decided to dive into employment right away. And the most important gift is time.
- A time to reflect and review my dreams and priorities.
- A time to slow down from the hustle of everyday adult life.
- A time to improve my skills – writing, social media and blog management, pitching, empathy, among others.
- A time to do what I love – reading, writing, creating, tinkering with projects.
- A time to get to know my loved ones more especially my father. We didn’t spend much time together since he spent 24/7 at work and me at school.
- A time to explore opportunities in content creation and management.
This phase made monumental events and triumphs. Let me tell you that a gap year is how you make them be. It is not always about boredom, sleep, and endless social media scrolling.
- Family and friends celebrations that I am proud to be a part of.
- Ryan-Suzy wedding.
- Abraham’s birth and christening.
- Passing the Civil Service Examination Pen and Paper Test (CSE-PPT).
- Witnessing my friends progress in their career.
- Witnessing a friend start her own family.
- Seeing the beauty of the Philippines – Baguio, Vigan, Banaue.
- Having my articles featured in online magazines.
- Getting accepted as a contributing writer for When in Manila and Claire Delfin Media.
It is also a series of experimentations for me creative-wise.
- Started my blog
- Documented memories in an art journal.
- Tinkered with projects inspired by books, films, and the Internet.
- Wrote more words than I ever did in my existence.
I also become more conscious of my health and decided to develop better habits.
- Being more intentional about eating better, drinking more water and maintaining a skin routine.
- Improving communication skills – writing, reading, and listening to podcasts.
- Making the effort to finish at least two books per month.
- Maximizing my spare moments.
Alongside memories, my experiences gave me lessons I know I will bring with me when I face real-world problems.
- If things didn’t go the way I wanted it, I would keep in mind that I am redirected and not denied. Try again!
- Direction doesn’t always mean speed.
- We have our time zones. The sun and the moon shine when it is their time.
- With practice comes progress. I’d been writing and creating more. It helps me get better with weaving words and crafting projects. It is about loosening the ligaments.
- Our (physical and mental) health comes before anything else. Learn the value of it before it is too late.
In this fast-paced world, sometimes the best thing to do is to slow down. Do not be afraid to step back and breathe. Doing it is not complacency. Sometimes you have to learn to be less guilty about it. Make it a good opportunity for reflection and rediscovery.
See also: The Complexity of Life + My Happy List
My gap year is one of the best things that happened to me. Yet all good things must come to an end. As much as it is easier and more comfortable to stay the same, I wouldn’t. Now, I am more than ready to accept a new challenge in my life – the corporate world. There will be hurdles that seem unconquerable, fear that seeps in the veins, and doubt that would freeze me in place. But being the captain of my ship, I have to lead my crew in every way – from smooth sailing journeys to stormy ones. That is the only way to grow as the best sailor of my destiny.
And that’s it for this self honeymoon. This is Sherlene from the gap year phase, signing off.
Note: I recognize that a gap year is a privilege that is not easily afforded by many. I am grateful to be given the chance to experience such a glorious phase. Please be reminded that this article aims to show the possibility of a sabbatical break in the Philippines. It also hopes to inspire other Filipinos to consider a break when necessary.