Day 25: Lucky me time.

When I tell people about what I’ve been up to in my 30 days of me time, I get things like, “Wow, aren’t you lucky.” If this all happened by chance, my luck is remarkably predictable as this is my third career break in ten years. I went to Paris in 2005, to Argentina in 2010 and, now, the faraway and most exotic Wesport, Massachusetts. (Apparently my luck arrives on a renewable five year plan.)

lucky pennyAm I lucky? To step outside of your world where the only consequence is positive is lucky, I suppose. It’s easy to judge as some selfish luxury, but really, there’s a lot of practicality to sabbaticals. And to some folks, breaks are the things that move them forward.

Stefan Sagmeister, a world renowned designer, gives a great TED talk on the Power of Time Off. It’s about how he rejuvenates by taking year-long sabbaticals every seven years. His rationale? Here’s an excerpt from his talk:

Right now we spend about the first 25 years of our lives learning, then there is another 40 years that’s really reserved for working. And then tacked on at the end of it are about 15 years for retirement. And I thought it might be helpful to basically cut off five of those retirement years and intersperse them in between those working years. (Applause) That’s clearly enjoyable for myself. But probably even more important is that the work that comes out of these years flows back into the company and into society at large, rather than just benefiting a grandchild or two.

Sagmeister goes on to talk about how time off re-ignites his work. He owns a wildly successful New York design firm with clients like the Rolling Stones, HBO and the Guggenheim. So it’s easy to see how someone with his clout can shut down for a year and pick right back up again. What about the rest of us?

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Day 22: The biggest luxury of me-time? Nothing.

Go ahead, try it. Take a day to do nothing.

What does that even mean to you? Sleeping in? Vegging on the couch? Watching junk TV? Because doing nothing is widely interpretable. You ever ask a friend, “what did you do today?” And they answer, “Nothing much. Just went to the mall, walked around and took my dog to the park.” Or, “Nothing, I went too the grocery store, cleaned up, ran a few errands…” Doing nothing has this funny nuance of being a selection of random everyday chores or things we do that we’re not super excited about.

What's your idea of doing nothing?
What’s your idea of doing nothing?

Shouldn’t we be? The act of doing nothing in a supercharged, 24-7 “always on” world should be right up on the list next to your all-time favorite things to do on the weekend, vacation or your birthday. Newsflash. Nothing is the ultimate luxury. Make. It. Count.

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