It’s been more than a year since Rebecca and I quit our jobs to take a self funded sabbatical. Recently, Rebecca started calling it an adult gap year.
We quit our jobs, traveled for 4 months, moved across the country, focused on self improvement and started a business pursuing our passion of helping others with their finances. Starting a business isn’t exactly R&R, but it is a dream come true!
The idea of a gap year isn’t a new thing. Gap years are popular for high school graduates, who instead of going straight to college they take a year to figure out what they want to do next in life. They pick up work or travel to gain real life experience, that helps them learn more about who they are and what they want their future to look like.
Even tenured college professors take a gap year, they just call it a sabbatical. This time off is meant to encourage creativity and spend time doing research. When they are spending all of their time teaching, they are unable to grow in their field of study. This time off encourages these professors to rejuvenate and work on their passion projects, researching, writing books, and return ready to teach with a new energy.
I’ll admit, when I was planning my year off I did not anticipate that I would grow and learn as much as I did. In fact, through my experience I am confident that I learned more in my “Adult Gap Year” than I did in any single year in the workforce. Which is why I am helping other people to do the same.
As adult life gets complicated with more responsibilities, it becomes harder and harder to carve out time for personal development and growth.There’s little time during our daily routine to read, learn, travel, and even work on our relationships with loved ones. I know because I’ve been there. But there’s power in taking time off to slow down, look inward, and figure out what’s important to you.
Taking an adult gap year makes you be a better you. Approximately 37% better, to be precise….more on that later.
Why an adult gap year?
No one ever says they wish they spent more time at work. We say that we wish we spent more time with family and friends, that we had the chance to travel more, to write that book or start that business. Taking a year off gives you the opportunity to do these things and to live a life full of memories, not just dreams.
An adult gap year is giving yourself the opportunity to step away from the “real world” and spend time pursuing your passions. We view it as a mini retirement, but ideally when you’re younger and able to do far more than when you’re 65 or older. As millennials, we’re well aware that you only live once, but it can also be unpredictably short, so do more of what makes you fulfilled, just do it with a plan for success!
Here are the 3 elements of an excellent, fulfilling Adult Gap Year that will spur personal growth and give you memories to last a lifetime.
1. Travel and Adventure
Travel is so much more than simply going to see new things. When we travel, we go to experience and learn about a different culture, people and landscapes. These experiences help you grow as a person and become more creative, open minded, and give you a new broader understanding of the world and the different people living in it.
The great thing is, you don’t have to leave the country to do all of this. Sure, you could travel the world and be immersed in dramatically different cultures, but you can also have an amazing year exploring right here in the United States where we have an extremely varied landscape and diverse cultures and amazing experiences throughout the many regions doing bucket list things like seeing a Broadway show in NYC or climbing a glaciated volcano in Washington.
The point is doing and seeing things you’ve always wanted to, without waiting until you’re 65!
2. Self – Education and Personal Growth
This is one of our favorite benefits of taking a year to yourself. During a year you have the potential to learn new things, grow your skill set, and find time to reflect and meditate on creating the life you want. With just a little effort everyday, you will receive massive dividends at the end of a year.
Consider the three book rule. The three book rule states that by reading three books on a single topic you become an expert on the subject matter. Imagine the potential if you dedicated an entire year to self education and become an expert on a topic you are passionate about.
But you shouldn’t stop there – We also suggest taking online courses, focusing on your fitness, meditating, journaling and focusing on learning, growing and becoming a healthier, well-rounded version of yourself.
3. Nurture Personal Relationships
We’ve all heard stories of people getting to the end of their life only to regret not spending enough time with the people they love. So what steps are you taking to make sure that isn’t how your life ends up?
During an Adult Gap Year we highly encourage taking the time to nurture and build stronger relationships with those you love. By removing the constant distractions of being plugged into work, you can be more present in each moment and take as much time as you want to visit family and friends, and create memories.
Time with family and friends is priceless, so go on that trip together, do something new, have conversations that matter, learn more about each other, you won’t regret it.
You don’t have to choose…
A year is a long time, and there’s no reason to limit yourself. What makes you happiest, helps you recharge, and become a better person is most important. However you choose to spend your Adult Gap Year it can help you become more creative, feel happier, and help you recharge so you can come back to your career even better than before.
In the coming blogs, we’ll lay out a plan on how to financially prepare for an adult gap year, and share our tips to make it happen sooner.
Let us know in the comments below how you would spend your time during an adult gap year.