After the pandemic, its probably time for your Adult Gap Year.
Hello yes, I'm talking to you. It's been a very long and tortourous pandemic and yes I know you love your job and you may even be doing rather well, but I also know you're probably a bit dead inside from all the zoom calls and the general bizzarre capitalist notion that working your backside off to make someone else rich is some sort of virtue.
Taking a break doesn't mean you're not serious about your career, or that you haven't 'grown up' yet.
Fuck that old tripe, you were not put on this earth to simply pay bills, hit you bosses targets - and die. You're allowed a break to drop the schedule, explore the world and experience real freedom.
Gap Yah kids get a bad reputation, and I won't say I didn't bump into a few responsibility-dodgers on my own travels, but I also know that if many of us were wealthy enough to do the same - we probabaly would, so we're mostly just jealous. (Let's be honest..)
What I also know is there are a lot of societal narratives that view 'running off' and having an 'Eat, pray, love' style year working in a bar and surfing everyday (hello, 2022) as 'seflish' and 'self-indulgent'.
Yeh - but no. And if you do think this, I can recommend a great therapist because I can't imagine its very nice holding such un-fun views about life all the time.
So if you find yourself constantly neck deep in travel porn, yet no one else in your life is capable of giving you complete permission to take off for six months, allow me to give that to you now and once this COVID bollocks is over, please go.
As someone who actively builds gap years into their life plan, I understand the fear and the judgement. I have recieved a whole collection of assumptions about my work-ethic, motivation, background and reliablity over the years. Its really annoying - and largely very untrue. My time 'gallavanting' has often entailed working hard, developing resourcefulness and dealing with a whole cast of different characters. All qualities that would contribute to any career or workplace.
Just because someone hasn't consistently sat in front of a box of fake lights, 8 hours a day for the last ten years doesn't automatically make them less compentent or capable so don't be afraid to change track for a while.
If the pandemic has highlighted anything, its that our need to roam, explore and experience autonomy is a basic primal need. I don't know at which point in history we decided that once we commit to a career, a place, or a lifestyle - to ever deviate and explore from this would render us some sort of irresponsible renegade, but for their sake - I hope we never meet.
Anyway - go hire that van. (Or if you're in your thirties, probably just buy one and start an insta account while your at it..) Go and teach english somewhere tropical, take some time out with the turtles or spend a few months hanging out in the mountains. It hurts my heart how many people spend their lives feeling like they can't do the things they so badly want to do because of a lack of permission from others.
Plan that break and ignore the voices that say 'you'll lose your career!' 'you're being selfish!!' 'you're too old!' They're wrong - and usually the voices of people who secretly wish they could do it themselves.
I'm telling you, you will only gain.
This is your official permission slip.