As much of the world’s population continues to experience greater longevity, our working years have also stretched with the growing need to save for a longer retirement and rising living costs. But more people are also concerned with creating a balance between work and life, especially around middle age, when adults often learn through difficult events what is truly most important to their overall sense of wellness and fulfillment. A sabbatical can help middle-aged and older adults carve out the time and space to contemplate how the next chapter of life will unfold.
Modern Elder Academy Founder Chip Conley says taking a chunk of time off work for a sabbatical can look many ways, but if the intention is reflection and growth, a significant break from the usual routine can help people recharge and return feeling renewed.
Even if the demands of daily life don’t currently allow for a lengthy break, there are many ways to carve out time to regain a sense of awe about the world around us. Instead of turning on devices to entertain us at the end of a long day, spending time in nature fully immersed in all the sights, sounds, and smells can offer new perspectives and clarity. Whether it is a weekly ritual of forest bathing or a month-long retreat to a remote cabin, a sabbatical can help middle-agers and beyond discover what new paths await.
Midlife, around 50 and beyond, is one of the periods of life filled with the most transitions. Middle-aged adults often lose a parent at this time, their children may be leaving the nest, and with more time for reflection may be reevaluating work life. By reframing this period of life not as a crisis but an opportunity, midlife can inspire empowering growth. What will your long-life calling be?