I'm setting out on a mid-life gap year and encourage more people to do this. There are a few things that hurt my heart as much as my friends who say things like ”Oh, I wish I could go traveling too”.
Please. Go. Do it!
I get it. Life happens as the years accumulate so do the responsibilities and societies expectations. But if your soul is calling out for a break please don't waste any time, just go for it. If you need a little nudge on your way, here it is.
Basic motivational theory says we must first fulfill the basic needs before aiming for self-fulfillment. If you already have years of life experience, chances are you already have the basics and a lot of fulfillment, so your gap year is icing on the cake.
Find a clear picture of some specific experiences on your bucket list. Now you have an awesome goal that is worthy of the perceived pain of cutting loose from your safety net.
Is it to make a difference, learn a new skill, live as a digital nomad, travel around the world? Do it all.
What is stopping you?
- Make a plan. Talk to your family, your work and make a budget.
- Leverage the years of life experience you have.
- If you own a car or home, you can rent this out to cover costs
- Speak to your company about working remotely or use all the skills that you have built up through life to find an online job that will give you some income.
Trust me, you do not need to go to the office to make an income.
People like consistency, so be prepared that your closest friends may not be very supportive about this change. After all, you're about to disrupt some social norms.
I had a few people trying to stop me from starting my gap year. They all had the best intentions. I simply claimed I was in a "midlife crisis".
Well, I'm not feeling the crisis, but people seem to accept that as a valid reason, so I stick with it.
Honestly, I hope some of my friends would have a little crisis too. Anyone re-evaluating a life that is not satisfying deserves a big hug and my respect.
This is your life.
Create this space for yourself without jeopardizing anyone else. If you are a parent, find a way to bring the kids or take your gap year in chunks of time. Parents travel too and there are plenty of blogs out there for inspiration. If your boss says no, find a better boss.
One important key is to find likeminded people. Let's start here on Worldpackers. I will be sharing more of my trips, so please feel free to get in touch at any time.
To sum it all up, a mid-life gap year is the icing on top of a life well lived!