Discover more from Elyse’s Sabbatical
Hi August! Updates + Reflecting on the Last Two Weeks.
Happy August! I’m sitting at my kitchen table, typing away while I indulge in my Leaves candle and glance at my fall-colored bouquet. I’m pretending it’s much cooler so I can run outside… Ahh… what a dream. Allegedly, the Starbucks fall drinks are returning even earlier this year, so I welcome them with open arms to support my delusion. It’s good to be back here writing a blog after taking a week off.
It’s not like I haven’t been writing - my brain power in that realm has been spent writing cover letters for job applications. Last week, I had a helpful conversation with a Trinity alum who gave me several great tips for working in an environment-related field. She also reminded me that these jobs tend to take a while to get back to you, and I need to get my butt in gear and get some applications out if I want to get back to work soon (my words, not hers). So I’m doing it! And it’s not as bad as I thought it would be! Writing blogs has improved my ability to crank out a cover letter and finish an application in a day. In my search, I’m focusing on jobs I would truly be jazzed about and writing engaging cover letters that express sincere interest in the position. A barrier was broken down once I decided to be genuine, casual, and sometimes a bit silly or witty in cover letters. For this, I am incredibly grateful for this blog.
I feel like I have shaken the insecurity and fear that followed me over the past few months and now I feel very comfortable day-to-day. The ticking clock has lit a fire under me, but I am no longer scared of what might or might not happen. I wish it could have been a simple switch to flip in my brain, but I genuinely needed the time to rewire how I view myself and my work. Things can change, and it’s not a good idea to hold onto something that’s not working for you. I don’t foresee needing to take this much time in the future if I decide to change jobs or careers again, and I think that’s a testament to all I have learned and how I have grown. But hey! My sabbatical isn’t over yet – here is what I have been up to over the past two weeks.
The biggest project I am working on now is Doggust 2023. I’ve already talked about it in previous posts, but here’s a refresher: Doggust is an annual drawing challenge where you draw a different dog every day in August. The breed is determined by a list created by the founder, Eliza. I particularly enjoy this challenge because I usually don’t draw animals in my work, or understand how they work physiologically and I can gain a lot of experience through the practice. At the end of each year, I notice my skills develop in that regard and I know that it will be helpful for future illustration work I take on! Here are some of my posts for this month – you can follow along on my Instagram, elyse_draws.
Volunteering has added so much to my life over the past month. I look forward to the three days a week I get to leave my apartment and engage with people who are passionate about the projects we’re working on. It added structure and accountability to my days, which were needed after wiping my working-life-slate clean in May.
At the Botanical Garden, I do various gardening tasks and help where I’m needed. I’ve recently realized that I particularly enjoy weeding and pruning. Who would have thought? I find it satisfying to go through the greenhouse, plucking out imperfections and weeds that compete with the plant for resources. Now that I’m more comfortable there, I enjoy seeing the progress of plants I helped to pot and checking on others that looked a bit wilted the week before. The conversations with the other volunteers have been lovely, and it has been so valuable for me to meet new people and chat about life and plants.
Birding is a bit more solitary, but I’ve had the luck of never going alone so far. It is more fun with friends! Nathan has been joining me the last few weeks, photographing wildlife while I keep a count on my phone of the birds. This week, I was supposed to go alone, but I had the luck of running into the volunteer who led me on my first birding expedition, so I joined him and had my highest count yet – 37 species!
If you decide to take a career break or find yourself with a surplus of time for whatever reason, I would strongly recommend volunteering with an organization serving the people, animals, or other things you care about the most. (Or those that you have a sprouting curiosity about!) During this time, I am looking for actions that will move the needle, and nothing has moved it more than getting out and doing work.
My fitness has taken a hit over the past two weeks, as it often does when I take a week off. I honestly have very little motivation to run, so I’ve been looking for ways to maintain my cardio base and move my body. Biking has been the most fun for me lately, so I’ve gravitated towards that.
If I don’t work out first thing in the morning, I would say there’s only a 30% chance I will do it later in the day. Those odds aren’t too great, so I am planning to make more of an effort to wake up early and get to the gym. I own an indoor bike, but I also finally set up my account on our gym’s Peloton bike this morning and had my first ride. WOW. So fun, so sweaty. I understand people’s obsession with it. I look forward to more Peloton rides until it’s cool enough to get back outside and run.
This week, I finished a tank top I have been working on and got started on another! It has been cool to learn how to alter the patterns for my body and know that I have the skills to pull it off. I’m also enjoying this fancy, colorful yarn I got in Victoria, BC when I went up there earlier this summer. I’ll include some photos down below!
Thank you for reading this week’s update! I hope to have some job updates for you all soon, depending on if these applications pan out 🥰. Have a wonderful week ahead!