18 days

You know how sometimes the most difficult situations can turn into gifts in disguise? I recently got the gift of time, in the form of 18 days between jobs. It may not sound like a lot, but I realized I have NEVER, EVER taken that many consecutive days off in my entire career.

Just like I had a mission for leaving my old job gracefully [see my recent blog], I decided to make the most of my ‘found’ time. And while I definitely had many moments of anxiety and loss in a big transitional time in my life, I have to say I had some pretty MAGICAL moments too.

This may sound a little ‘new-agey’ but I think in some ways the universe conspired to help me through my tough time – providing picture perfect weather for every outing I took, and surrounding me with people I love to remind me what’s important in life, inside of work and out.

Some highlights:

All the BRISKET we could eat: A trip down to Austin, TX with friends came the day after I left my old job and was a great getaway to ease into my new situation. We got to see son Dan ‘in his element’ in his chemistry lab (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun) down at the University of Texas. We ate tons of barbecue beef products, went on river walks, heard some live music and walked down dusty old towns that felt like The Old West. We just had a really grand time.

Living – and napping – like MY CATS: Ok, true confession. One of the nicest things about being home alone during my days off was sleeping in with my two cats (Lucy and William), taking ‘cat naps’, being in the present moment by truly appreciating my cat bonding time, and taking endless pics and videos to text my kids. Cats do live the life, don’t they?

‘Walked it off’ at HECKSCHER PARK: This little park is just about 15 minutes from my home and a real haven for me. There’s a beautiful pond filled with swans, turtles and geese to walk around and I’ll be forever grateful tor the much-needed solace it provided me during an anxious time. I walked a good 12,000 or more steps there on a Tuesday afternoon, listened to someone singing and playing guitar – ‘Here Comes the Sun’ – among the most vibrant tulip collections I’ve ever seen. A friend in the UK said it looked like it could have been Holland. Thank you, Heckscher Park!


A BOCCE game to remember: One of the toughest things to lose was the fun, friendship and camaraderie of some really great people at my former job. I know they’re still my friends, but it’s different when you see people every day. And anyone who knows me – inside of work and out – knows I LOVE the big bocce league there. So I came for a ‘guest appearance’ with my team – La Bella Bocce – and played possibly the best bocce game of my life! I was just so relaxed. We had such fun out there and won 21-15 (I think the score was, but who’s counting?). Acting like quite the recent, albeit short-term, retiree, I then said I had to leave for a mid-day piano lesson! Speaking of which, I also took …

A BIKE RIDE with piano teacher, turned friend, Jen: At my lesson, Jen and I decided we should take advantage of my rare mid-week availability and take a bicycling day trip to a beautiful state park called Caumsett up on the North Shore of Long Island. It’s a super special place where wooded trails meet the rocky beach of the crystal clear Long Island Sound. Loads of horses were out by the farm area and it was quiet, peaceful and wonderful. We parked our bikes up on a bluff to head down to the water’s edge for a little picnic lunch on the sand. Jen identified birds, shells and trees all around us. On the way back, we stopped in the parking lot of Chalet Inn and Suites near Centerport Harbor (it’s not what you think! – lol). She showed me this tremendous eagles’ nest she’d been telling me about, which she said has renewed people’s interest and respect for nature. And just as we were looking up at the ‘aerie,’ one of the white-headed American Bald Eagles flew out and we watched him (her?) circle around in the clear blue sky for a while. Again, magical!


NEIGHBORHOOD WALK with my friend Julie and shopping with mom – I seized a rare opportunity to take a weekday morning walk with long-time neighborhood friend Julie, squeezing it in before her ballet class (is she too cool?!). It was great to catch up on things and just enjoy a nice long walk with a good friend (even though it conflicted with my ‘sleeping in with the cats’ plans). I also had a nice weekday lunch with mom and dad and a shopping excursion with mom with the mission of finding shoes for my new job. (Don’t let my mom fool you – she can seem tired with age at times, but she will NEVER end a shopping trip ‘till we find what we’re after. This case, no exception. Always so much mother/daughter fun in the process!)

img-3322.jpgDEBBIE MACOMBER to the rescue! – I read this light, easy book to take ANY IMAGINABLE form of stress off of me. FUN FACT: Debbie Macomber wrote the books upon which a favorite Hallmark series of mine is based, called Cedar Cove. Like Hallmark shows/movies, her books are ‘soft’ romance novels where you always come away happy, inspired and guaranteed a happy ending.

Lunch with Lois and strolling the NORTHPORT PIER – I ended my time off with a really wonderful lunch with one of my best friends from my old company, Lois. Then, a relaxing walk around Northport Harbor, another bucolic, North Shore Long Island spot I love. It was my last weekend before starting the new job and it just felt right to be in that calming environment before my new adventure.

IN SHORT … I feel truly blessed for having some time, space, comfort and friendship to make some big adjustments in my life … and I’ll be forever grateful for my 18 days off.


8 thoughts on “18 days

  1. I’m glad we were able to get together for a wonderful lunch during your “18 days.” It’s always great spending time with you Ellen!


  2. Good for you Ellen. It’s always a blessing when you can take time to relax and reflect. Good luck in your new job.


  3. What a wonderful piece   loved it   it gave me the chills reading it    you are a beautiful writer and this almost brought tears to my eyes   did love our afternoon together , as I always do Mom


  4. Hi Ellen, hope you’re loving your new job. Glad you had a chance to take some time off in between. We’ve gotta get another brunch together soon! 💕


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