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SunsetThis is the time of year when most people take a break … a week at the shore, the big trip to Europe, or at least a long weekend.  At some level, we come back changed, but the effect quickly dissipates as the daily routine reclaims our lives.

I took 6 months off.  It wasn’t by choice.  I had throat cancer.  As I return to my work, I am keenly aware of having been away.  It is more than the dust on my desk, the old files littering my workspace and the jellybeans that have glued themselves together in the candy jar.

William Bridges in book, Transitions, talks about the “Between Time.”  It is when you are not what you were, but you aren’t what you are going to be.  He describes this as being between two trapezes.  It is both exhilarating and horrifying.  It is a golden opportunity to take stock of “what you know now that you didn’t know before.”

A weekend break can leave you aware of your need for more sleep.  A week away can remind you of how good it feels to exercise or spend time with friends.   An overseas adventure can remind you of the glory of great food and drink.  Six months away can remind you of what you really love to do.

The next time you step away, take a moment as you return to ask yourself:

  • What do I know about myself that I didn’t know before (or had forgotten)?
  • What did this break teach me that I should try to pull into my daily life?
  • What did this break teach me that I could/should give up in my daily life?
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