Time Off – An Unexpected Pandemic Gift

After working for years, I am finally able to enjoy some down time. I am calling it my Pandemic Time Off.  A chance to take a much needed vacation, albeit unpaid, but a recess nonetheless from the everyday norm that was my life. Here was my chance to finally embrace the changessa.

Waiting for the Ball to Drop

When the pandemic hit, and people began to lose their jobs, I remember feeling so guilty that I was still working. I watched my colleagues get furloughed as business dwindled. It was awful, heartwrenching and left me with a pain in my gut. Why was I still working and others weren’t? I am a recruiter, and it made no sense that I had a job while others did not.

When asked to voluntarily reduce hours, I was first in line. It was the one way I could give back and lessen the remorse I felt over being at work in a role that was not really necessary during the pandemic. Taking some time off was a simple and easy thing to do; however, waiting for the ball to drop wasn’t . When it actually happened, I was not suprised and grateful that it only took a few weeks.  When I was handed my furlough notice, I was relieved more than you could possibly know. 

Unexpected Gift of a Sabbatical

Finishing up the final things I needed to do and packing up my office, I was initially almost giddy with anticipation of finally having some time off. Reality sunk in quickly during the first crying jag of “Why me?” Seriously, my head understood exactly what was going on, but my heart was crushed because I had just received a phenomenal annual review, and was now being let go. 

Now that I am half way through my third week of being furloughed, I realize that I have been given an unexpected gift of a sabbatical, and am going to use it to the fullest. Haven’t I been dreaming of an opportunity to have some downtime for myself? Yes, most definitely, I have! Why wallow in self pity and waste it? I can’t because I may not have another chance to do this again. 

Using My Furlough Wisely

Since I was just handed a few lemons, why not make some lemonade?!! So, I decided that I was going to use my furlough wisely during this Pandemic Downtime. I have so many things I want and need to do, but where to begin. I could clean, organize, and do all the usual stuff, but I want to do some fun stuff as well.  A tough decision, but I ultimately decided to complete both what I need as well as what I want to do during my time off. Ultimately, I decided that the first thing I needed to concentrate on was my health in body, mind and spirit, so I made that the focus of my first couple of weeks.  Below is my list and where I am at in the progress:

    • Continue with my walking program and increase my steps – in progress!
    • Make face masks for my community – done.
    • Clean and organize my sewing space – done.
    • Go through my stack of mail and magazines – in progress.
    • Sort my sewing projects into storage bins – done.
    • Get the oil changed, roof rack installed on the car – scheduled.
    • Go see the dermatologist – first visit complete, with treatment in progress.
    • Schedule my annual doctor’s visit – done.
    • Finish my summer quilt top – done.
    • Throw out the accummulated junk, etc. –  in progress.
    • Clean the bathrooms – never ending job in progress.
    • Make a cake and some cookies – not started.

Don’t Waste a Good Opportunity

The best advice I can give to anyone right now is don’t waste a good opportunity when it is handed to you. I realize that being layed off, furloughed, or whatever you want to call it, is the most unsettling thing one could ever experience. But since this has happened to me before, I having been preparing myself for a long time.

While many of you were not able to plan for the rainy day, try to think of this as your chance to start anew. Use the time off to reinvent yourself. Do things you’ve been wanting to do. Learn a new skill, get things done you been wanting to complete, and spend time with your loved ones. When you finally get called back to work, you’ll begin again with a renewed spirit, and grateful for the opportunity to have recharged your battery.

Embrace the changes dear friends!

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