If you could, would you?

Seth Godin arrives in my inbox every morning with a short, often, thought proving blog. This morning he suggested that maybe it’s time to consider a gap year.

When we think gap year we think of this for those finishing college or university, maybe high school. But he is even suggesting a gap year while you are in high school or college or university. He may not be wrong… with our education system trying to pivot to an online learning world, there is much that is untried, untested. Essentially, they have stuffed an education system designed around classrooms into an online, virtual world. It is yet to be seen if this is best way.

Maybe, giving the education a year to sort it out, to learn, to grow isn’t such a bad idea.

When I say gap year, your internal filters will put a negative or positive spin on it. For some, it may be seen as a waste. A waste of a year. But for me, I envied those who could afford a gap year, envied those who were brave enough to travel alone, hike, backpack etc. I wish I had done it. Instead I was so eager to start a life that was mine, that I sort of rushed through the should’s… should finish high school, should go to post secondary school, should get a job. That before I knew it I had a long list of “someday’s” that always felt shadowed by should’s.

A gap year to me was a year to travel, to experience new things, to grow in a way that a formal education can not do. A gap year, felt out of reach of me. Today, I am wiser and if I could do it again… I’d find a way to do it.

But to do it now? Would travel be possible? Would you want to risk it? Not sure. But Canada is a beautiful place. With incredible places to hike, camp and experience. Maybe a gap year traveling through Canada.? I’m assuming a gap year is all about travel. Maybe it is about immersing yourself in something different? We have challenges, challenges that need creative solutions, maybe spending a semester, a half year or year learning, contributing, is a lesson worth experiencing?

In this blog, Seth said something that was shocking… “not just for college students, but for high school students and even adults.” Adults? Really?!

He does go on to say “if you can afford it, this is a powerful moment to invest in the next chapter of who you are and what you will become. For an adult, that’s an expensive commitment. To walk away from your freelance path or your job search to dig in to become the leader and connector and expert you’ve always hoped to become.”

It is food for thought…I mean essentially, I took a gap year. Or a gap 10 years… as I moved from my life as an accountant to a business owner. My husbands business success gave me the luxury to experiment with entrepreneurship, fail, try again and let a dream grow and start to be developed. This was all an unplanned accident.

What if it wasn’t an unplanned accident, but part of a larger plan. Imagine, taking a set of intentional time to pursue something you’ve thought about. It would be hard, it would be expensive, but if you could, would you? In my house we are two entrepreneurs. One of us has been an entrepreneur for … over 20 years. When you are an employee it seems easier to finish one career, pivot, and start another. But to finish one business, take a break and start another? This seems harder. But could it be done? In thinking it’s harder am i just putting up road blocks the same way I put up road blocks towards a gap year many many years ago?

If anything, I’ve learned I need less to live. With less dinners out, less socializing, less driving, less office costs and more intentional use of cash, I’ve seen we can do more with less. Could this aid one of us taking a gap year? It wouldn’t be easy. Actually, it would be hard and require a lot of sacrifice. We also don’t just have us to consider. My husbands grandmother lives with us and is in our care. Not unlike those of you who have children. There are others to consider.

IF…. IF we could figure it out… would we? Or would our fears of judgement, should have’s, what if’s, stop us? Is is something we would even want to? or has the desire for a gap year passed?

The even bigger question is … if you could, how would you spend that year? Where would you invest your time? What is it that you secretly (or not so secretly) wish you could do? I asked my husband that… he doesn’t now. So even if we could, would he?

If anything, Seth Godin, makes he think. He gives me food for thought.

What about you? If you could, would you? If you could, how would you intentionally spend your gap year?

“a mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to it’s old dimentions.”