Why I Decided to Take Some Time Off Without a Plan

Sunset in Panama City

I have to say that in many ways I am a creature of habit but I crave change and challenge more often than not. I still can’t say if it’s just part of my nature or not or if it’s due to the fact that I still haven’t quite figured out what I want to do.

When you ask me where I see myself in 5 years, I can’t really tell you what that is which in my mind is a constant concern as I want many things but haven’t actually set any specific goals, timelines or decided what that is.

As I went through the motions this last year of my twenties I started questioning more and more what I was actually doing and if I saw a future in it. My unhappiness started taking a toll on me more and more everyday. Many days I felt like I was going to explode and have a meltdown at work. I just wasn’t feeling what I was doing and I had no clue what I wanted to do next but it wasn’t what I was doing.

Personally, I felt drained, with 0 energy and wasn’t taking care of myself. I went through a lot of dark days where dealing with unhappiness and loneliness was very hard. I missed my home and my friends and family that live there.

So I started playing with the idea of taking time off to go home to Panama but realistically a two week vacation wasn’t going to be enough and I didn’t really want to go back to my job. So a crazy thought came to mind, why don’t I just quit my job and take time off to go home for a month? Although it was a scary thought to take this unexpected leap, something in me told be this was the right decision. I immediately found a flight over the holidays, bought my one month ticket and handed in my resignation after the break.

Once it became a reality the scary thoughts poured in…wait, how am I paying bills and how will I survive? And you know what? These are things that we can figure it out when the time comes but giving yourself the chance to heal and be happy is invaluable.

Of course I got all kinds of reactions from “Good for you” to “But what are you going to do then and what about your apartment?” among others. Our society dictates that we all have to have 9–5 jobs with 2–3 weeks vacation which we rarely take at once and that this is the norm and that anything outside this is bizarre.

But what I want people to understand is sometimes you have to be bizarre. Especially when you’re away from home and by yourself. The opportunity to spend time with my family and friends is worth so much more than the uncertainty of what I will be doing in the next few months.

Now that the month at home has gone by I can tell you that I still don’t have a plan for my future and that it will take time and patience and self discovery to get to that place.

I can say, however, that after this amazing month at home where I turned 30, reconnected with friends, got closer to family, met new people, did some healing and traveled to new places…I am a much happier me, re-energized and ready to take on the world.