17 Days of Slowing Down

2022 Sabbatical Journal

I don’t often feel like I have something worthwhile to blog about hence the only updated post on this site being Rob’s Reading List. But recently I was afforded an opportunity, two related opportunities really, that I wanted to remember well. This post is a stone of remembrance so that I can recall and re-experience the blessings of the last 17 days.

Last April I started a new job at Four Kitchens, a web development agency similar to my previous one. Long story short is that things at 4K were going well, but I was recently offered a job opportunity at Red Hat that I could not pass up. The second opportunity was that within the job offer was an encouragement to take a break between jobs. So not only was a significant career shift about to occur, but I was able to choose to wait two full weeks from my last day at 4k to start the new gig at Red Hat.

Farewell Slack message to the 4K on Feb. 10, 2022:

Dear Web Chefs,
When I started my journey at 4K nearly 10 months ago, I knew I had found a special place when on my first day on the job I got to share my passion for karaoke. I’ve learned so much from all of you, especially how to integrate values into all aspects of one’s work. Though my time was short at 4K, this company and all of you wonderful people will continue to hold a special place in my 💚.

I don’t recall any time in the last 20 years or more of having no work responsibilities for a 2+ week period. Knowing I had 17 full days between jobs I determined that I would not waste a day doing monotonous same old same old things like just sitting around the house. This was an opportunity to make an intentional effort to break the norm, focus on self-care, and make sure that by the time I started my new job on Feb. 28 my head was on straight and my heart was at peace.

Being a project manager at heart (and by trade), naturally, I created a plan. Some of the details changed over time, but the intention was to make sure each day had at least one special activity to look forward to.

My Todoist project where I planned one special activity per day for my two-week sabbatical

In addition to making the plan, I decided I would jot down the highlights from each day as shown in the featured image at the top of this post. I’ve listed the highlights of each day below and added a 🎁 next to the one or two truly set apart activities.

Day 1

  • Walked Nash to the corner for school
  • Slow morning drinking coffee with Inés
  • 75 min full body massage at @thesaltstudio – 10/10 would recommend!
  • Lunch with Inés at Amara Chocolates and Cafe
  • Took a nap (this will be repeated daily)
  • Walked to the Post Office and listened to Will Smith’s book WILL

Day 2

  • Cut my own hair with scissors because I really didn’t like my most recent haircut. Nailed it!
  • Sat outside in the morning sun sipping coffee and listening to the birds chirping
  • Walked my Gold Hill loop (2.3 miles)
  • Took a nap
  • Family breakfast lunch at Cafe de Olla
  • Binged Schitt’s Creek with Inés
  • Walked to a pop-up shop with Inés
  • Watched the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration
  • Watched Remember the Titans with the fam

Day 3

  • Started coffee grinder without the container which sprayed coffee grinds everywhere. LOL. That was exciting!
  • 20 min walk with no earbuds (a rarity)
  • Sunday Zoom Living Room with The Church We Hope For (We are here for our blessing)
  • Another 20 min walk
  • Super Bowl Party at the Whites’
  • Binged Yellowstone

Day 4

  • Walked Nash to the corner for school
  • Coffee and convo with Inés
  • Walked around the LA County Arboretum with Inés ❤️
  •  Lunch with Inés at Lemon Zest Café
  • Coffee with Inés at Syndicate
  • Took a nap
  • Cabin getaway planning

Day 5

  • Walked Nash to the corner for school
  • Coffee and convo with Inés
  • Listened to WILL
  • Lunch at Amara Cafe with the Lovely Fred Hadra
  • Donated books from when I reorganized my office
  • Took a nap
  • Edited and uploaded Sunday’s sermon

Day 6

  • Went for a walk
  • Had lunch with Andre Henry at his place. We grabbed Phat n Juicy Burgers to go.
  • Listened to lots of WILL
  • Took a nap
  • Inés and I had dinner at Basin 141

Day 7

  • Walked Nash to the corner for school
  • Solo time at the LA County Arboretum
  • Finished listening to Will Smith’s memoir
  • Discovered a chicken and waffles spot down the road called Hella Bird
  • Took a heavenly nap
  • Prepped for a 3-day weekend at a cabin in the San Bernardino Mountains

Day 8

  • Walked Nash to the corner for school
  • Went for a walk
  • Packed and loaded car for the cabin
  • Caravaned to the cabin in Crestline, CA with the Pattons
  • Cabin hangs with the Pattons by the crackling sounds of a fire in the fireplace

Day 9

  • Yummy bacon and eggs breakfast at the cabin
  • Skiing and snowboarding at Big Bear Mountain Resort
    • Nash’s first time snowboarding: “This guy. He worked HARD today on the slopes, and in the final hour cracked the code. He said, “Dad, I think I’m a snowboarder now.” We ended the day on a very high note. I’m so proud of him for pushing through the discouragement until something just clicked. It was like when he learned to ride a bike w/o training wheels. Today was a great day.”
  • Looked around Goldsmith’s
  • Homemade pizza at the cabin
  • Lots of laughs with the Pattons
  • Got that fireplace going!

Day 10

  • Slow morning at the cabin
  • Had Sunday Zoom Living Room with The Church We Hope For from the cabin
  • Lunch with the Pattons at Goodwin’s Market (amazing deli sandwiches and ice cream from the soda fountain)
  • Hiked the Heart Rock Trail
  • Watched the sunset from a scenic mountain overlook
  • Scoured the area for t-shirts and stuff – unsuccessfully 🙁
  • Said goodbye to the Pattons and watched The Middle with a fire in the fireplace

Day 11

  • Cleaned the cabin
  • Lunch at Lulubelle’s Coffee and Bakery
  • Bought Nash a Big Bear hoodie
  • Nash sledded at the Will Abel Memorial near Lake Arrowhead

Day 12

  • Walked Nash to the corner for school
  • Went for a walk
  • Solo lunch at 38 Degrees in Monrovia
  • Edited and published Sunday’s sermon
  • Watched TV with the family

Day 13

  • Walked Nash to the corner for school
  • Coffee and convo with Inés
  • Zoom hang with Kelly D.
  • Listened to Malcolm X autobiography while getting the Tucson serviced (free oil change and headlight bulb)
  • Splurged on a new cooler
  • Bought some new clothes for Nash
  • Did a light dumbbell workout

Day 14

  • Walked Nash to the corner for school
  • Lunch in Hollywood with Jon Ritner who I had not seen in 20 years since we graduated from seminary together in 2002

Day 15

  • 3.5-mile hike and lunch with Bobby at the Glendora Public Market
  • Received my Red Hat laptop!
  • Watched Forrest Gump with Nash

Day 16

  • Coffee and cinnamon rolls with Inés
  • ⚽ Spontaneously got free tickets to the season opener for LAFC so Nash and I went with Andre and Jacob
  • 20-min walk with Inés around sunset

Day 17

  • Incredibly poignant Black History Month online service at The Church We Hope For
  • Dinner with the McBrydes and Harrisons at Jed’s

As I sit here on the couch drafting this post on the 17th and final day of this sabbatical, I feel a huge sense of peace and gratitude. I’m grateful for all the family time afforded to me, for all the one-on-one lunches and outings, for the slow mornings sipping coffee with Inés, and for walking Nash to the corner each morning to meet his friends with whom he walks to school. I’m grateful for a full weekend away last week with the Pattons and how Nicola spent her whole day on the mountain patiently teaching Nash how to snowboard. How we all laughed and laughed when Alex made Inés spit her water out at the soda fountain (wish there was a video of that!). So many other wonderful experiences happened in between the bullet points and photos above.

Tomorrow marks a new chapter in my life as I start a new career at Red Hat as a Senior Technical Program Manager. I am ready to get back to work and can’t wait to share new experiences with my friends and colleagues.

Thanks for reading! May you find a special thing to do each day that gives you life.




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