Stood at the bar, I overheard that ‘Anne’ was taking a sabbatical.
‘She’s gone to ‘find herself’,’ the breaker-of-news smirked, using the air quotes at precisely the right time to make an impact.
Of course the smirk – the smug glint in her eye, the slight upturning of her lips – and the air quotes were born out of jealousy. After all, not many people are fortunate enough to take six months leave from work to see the world and find themselves (and, more often than not, find that the person they really are isn’t one who wants to return to the place of work that let them do this in the first place).
I am one of the many who can’t do this. But a while ago, I did take a hiatus on several online outlets to try this ‘finding myself’ business. The quick and painless way to sum it up is this: I found myself in Rome. I found myself in my local nail salon. I found myself in a TV production company waiting area. And after careful thought, I realised why I’d located my true self in that collection of obscure places. People.
Watching them, interacting with them, questioning them, it sparks something within me. I love hearing stories, even just a snippet. I love watching as we, the intelligent people, get sucked into the nozzle of the latest societal shift or trend. I love trying to get my head around the way different cultures operate. I love small exchanges that seem like nothing but really mean something. This might sound trite – hell, I too have rolled my eyes when someone has theatrically declared their love for someone or something as if nobody before them has ever done the same – so all I can do is apologise, and explain that quite simply, these things get me excited.
This isn’t to say that I found my complete self during the hiatus (the search is still, and probably forever, on-going), but I did come to the realisation that it was about time I do something about the interests that had, unbeknownst to my conscious self, enveloped my life so far – from vocalising my made-up stories while I played swingball at the bottom of the garden to writing about that thing that happened to me on my way home from school. Plus, I think my boyfriend needed a break from my constant vocal observations.
They say it’s never too late. Never too late to get a new career, never too late to create the life you want, never too late to change your mind.
But, it’s never too early, either. The Office‘s Michael Scott (pictured here for extra effect) said it perfectly: ‘it’s never too early for ice cream’. Somehow the two, with their seemingly opposite meanings actually stand for the same thing. That is, it’s now. It’s never too anything to do anything, so do it now.