What I Plan To Do During My Year-Long Sabbatical

In no particular order (or maybe from most significant to least), below is my to-do list for the following year:

1. Sleep.

2. Home school my kids. I figure I’m way smarter than them, so how hard can it be?

3. Sleep.

4. Facebook stalk each of my friends. I’m pretty judgmental so if you can’t handle the scrutiny, now would be a good time to unfriend me.

5. Sleep.

6. Have (more and better quality) relations with my husband. Considering the sorry state of our current affairs (or lack thereof), this should not be difficult.

7. Sleep after having relations with my husband.

8. Explore Vietnam and travel to other amazing, unforgettable places throughout Asia.

9. Read for fun. No purchase agreements or indentures for a year, yippee!

10. Do some soul-searching to see if I have one.

11. Write a total piece of crap and become instantly rich and successful. It worked for Fifty Shades of Grey, right?

12. Achieve symmetrical eyebrows. They each take turns being arched and rounded, but never both at the same time. I do not understand what causes this.

13. Gain 20 pounds from eating everything in sight.

14. Lose 10 pounds from the diarrhea resulting from eating everything in sight.

15. Take naps in between bouts of diarrhea.

Not a particularly admirable list but hopefully evolving.

I’m a Hypocrite

I never read Eat Pray Love but I was not a fan of the movie, specifically the main character played by Julia Roberts. She led a charmed life and by her own admission was supremely unhappy with the outcome of her very own choices. The antidote to her ennui and dissatisfaction was to travel to exotic places to eat delicious foods, meet intriguing people, explore her spirituality, and generally find herself. She was so annoying. It seemed incredibly self-indulgent, even offensive, that she bemoaned the self-imposed, practically perfect circumstances of her life and had the means and audacity to change the course of it. Talk about first world white women problems. There are countless people in this world who struggle with far worse with far less. She had the nerve to be unhappy for no apparent reason.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m probably luckier than I deserve (not that I don’t work hard for what I have — I work very, very hard). I have the best husband and children ever; I’m just about to have a terrific career. And yet lately I’ve been suffering from some inexplicable dissatisfaction with the course of my life and a nagging urge to experience something completely different. Like third-world-Asia different.

In all fairness, it’s not really an inexplicable dissatisfaction. I can explain it pretty well: I want to spend more time with my family and enjoy my life. I want to run away from reality instead of dealing with it. I want to be happy, even though I already should be. In short, I have turned into Julia Roberts. To my dismay I can’t distinguish myself from her stupidly annoying character in Eat Pray Love. I’ve thought about it a lot and the best defense I can come up with is that I would rather be hypocritically happy than miserably principled.

And so the family and I are about to embark on the biggest adventure of our lives to date. For the first time in a long time, I’m excited, terrified, elated, curious, and hopeful about the impending future, and eager to see what it holds for us.  Life is going to be unpredictable, and the promise of endless possibilities is a beautiful thing.