Thursday, September 8, 2011

What I Learned on Sabbatical - Part 1

Yesterday I had a headache all day. I woke up with it, taught two classes with it, and went to bed with it. It could have been hormones, or it could have been a lack of caffeine, I’m not sure, but there it was, my constant companion yesterday. A dull throbbing that reminded me of the obligations and time constraints of this life we’re living right now.

It’s a good life. I’m not complaining. But it’s sure a different life than the one I was living on Long Lake this summer.

Now that our days have returned to “normal” and “routine,” now that the weather is turning and I’m starting to think about fall, and now that our tans are fading (so sad!), it just seems fitting to reflect on our summer a little bit.

Ahhhhh, summer. Ahhhhh, sabbatical. I miss you so.

I learned a thing or two this summer, oh yes I did, and I thought, rather than forgetting these important matters, it might be a good idea to write them down. So over the next few days I’ll be sharing three important lessons I learned this summer.

Let’s start with what should have been obvious to me all along, but what was probably the most glaring lesson that needed to be learned.

Lesson 1: My husband needs outdoor time.

Like I said in a previous post, B was like a little boy, running in and out the door all day long. He was happy this summer in a way I had not seen him in a long time, if ever. And I realized that this, nature, is where he is most in his element, most like himself.

Not sitting around a boardroom table. Not behind his computer. Not behind a desk or running a meeting or meeting with clients. All these things he does on a regular basis, but after this summer I am more and more convinced that he could happily leave those things behind tomorrow.

What really feeds his soul is being outside. Fishing. Paddling. Biking. Anything as long as he doesn’t have to report to anyone or have anyone report to him.

I should have known this about my husband. In the 26 years that we’ve been married, his favorite vacations have been those few (very few, I’m sorry to say) vacations in which he’s had ample opportunity to just be out in nature.

Sadly, we’re different in this. I like cities, villages, towns, highways and byways. I like exploring back alleyways and seeing new things. Nature? I could take it or leave it (especially the bugs!).

But B? He NEEDS it. He’s been a good sport all these years, tagging along on my adventures. But what he really needs is downtime . . . outside.

My biggest takeaway? Get the boy outside more! Especially as his job becomes more demanding and he feels pressure from all sides, he will feel loved and nurtured if I allow him to be where he’s most himself—in nature.

What does that mean? I’m not sure. Maybe it means I’ll just send him outside more, like his mom did when he was little. (ha!) Or maybe we’ll have to be more intentional about taking his kind of vacations more often. Or maybe he will just have to say “yes” a little more often when guys invite him to go hunting.

Whatever the case, it was so good to see him completely unwind while being outdoors this summer.

So I married a Nature Boy. Who knew?



  1. You thought I was kidding 28 years ago when I said I wanted to be a forest ranger?

  2. B should have been a farmer. He would have been his own boss, set his own schedule and been outside as much as he wanted to be. It sure worked for your dad!

  3. It's so good to indulge our husbands. And who knows, maybe one day you'll be fishing, too!

  4. It's awesome that you are seeing the needs of your husband and making the adjustments accordingly--very cool:) So neat to continue learning new things about each other!

  5. I think that's LOVELY that you're still learning about your husband and what makes him tick....that you're still taking time to love each other more. Makes my heart sing!!!


  6. It's a testimony to the depth of human nature how you can still be learning about someone after 28 years of marriage. We just had our 33rd anniversary and I'm still learning too.