Day two of my month-long sabbatical from work and I’ve never felt so relaxed and at ease. Who wouldn’t be, right? A month off work to do whatever you want with?

When coworkers heard that I was taking a month off, I heard a multitude of comments. “How did you pull that off?”, “Must be nice. I couldn’t afford to do that.”, “Are you going to a tropical island?” and my personal favourite, “You suck.” My response was that, first of all, anyone can take a month off because it’s in our collective agreement, it just wasn’t widely known. Second of all, it’s not that I’m better off than anyone else financially or that I can “afford” to take the month off. It was something I prepared for by cutting back on spending the month before I went off,  and making sure the months bills were covered for the month I would be off. A little planning ahead makes all kinds of things possible.

What started as a simple conversation with the director of HR-in which I expressed interest in moving to another position as an opportunity for growth-turned into my current hiatus from the workplace.

The director only had two options for me, neither of which seemed plausible, and I said with a sigh, “I just wish I could take a month off to write and explore some other options.” When she told me that there was something in the collective agreement that allowed that type of leave, pending approval of course, I saw a shimmering of a light at the end of the tunnel. And it no longer felt like a train.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that my current job sucked, it’s just that my heart wasn’t in to it. Some of you may be thinking, “Suck it up, Sally. That’s life.” But I disagree.

If I’m spending 7 hours a day, 5 days a week at a job that I don’t find fulfilling or inspiring, or at the very least, rewarding in some way, then I’ll never be more than where I am. Growth is a part of life and if you’re not growing, what are you doing? I’m a growth-oriented individual and a student of life. I look at everything as a learning experience and an opportunity to understand more about the person that I am and what motivates me.

Someone at work tried to convince me that I just need to wait it out and see what happens. I said to that person, “when a flower starts to grow you don’t tell it to wait.” He told me to stop putting fertilizer on it. “It’s a good job, it’s close to home, decent pay, secure.” None of those statements speak to my soul.

I know that most people don’t get it; my never-ending quest to discover those precious things that make my heart sing and put a smile on my face, that light me up from within and make me want to be a better person.

But that’s ok. It’s not for them to understand, or for me to explain. All I know for sure is that following my heart and my own unique path just feels right. Life is too short to walk the path that others think you should be on.

Our main goal in life is to find and nurture our God-given talents so we can use them to help others. If you’re not making the most of the gifts you’ve been given, no one else can either.

Jennifer Grigg