Monday, April 18, 2011

Between the Phases of Life, Move Into the Gap

According to Wikipedia, the gap year, AKA year abroad, year out, year off, deferred year, bridging year, time off and time out ,is typically the year students sometimes take before starting college, though some also take it after college graduation.  The time is used for travel, volunteer work, working abroad, exploring new directions and becoming more independent. 

In a recent piece, Jane Pauley talked about a gap in experience that kids might like to fill before, or even during their college years.  She mentions empty nesters as having a similar opportunity.  It inspired my thinking about gap phases of life.  Are you an empty nester, new retiree, new divorcee or just in a position to take a sabbatical?  Perhaps in this economy you don’t have money or time for a break.  You can still carve out a little time to try something new.  These are a few ideas for branching out in the gap, or in life:

-Something missing in your life?  Always wanted to see India, take a dance class, study sign language?  This is your opportunity.
-Back burner items you’ve always planned to do.  Start training now for a marathon, enroll in that MBA program or try out for the new play in the local theater.  Don’t wait for free time that never comes.
-Meeting new people.  We all put off nonessential social contacts when we’re pressured for time.  Make time for a coffee or lunch with someone new.
-Exploring your community.  Find volunteer opportunities, museums, parks, hikes, music in clubs and other local options you haven’t explored.

The fact is, anytime is a great time to move into the gap and fill it with new experiences and get creative.  What’s in the gap for you?

Mood music:  The Gap.  Thompson Twins

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