Reflections on Calvin & Hobbes and taking a sabbatical

Everything you need to know in life can be learned from Calvin & Hobbes, probably the best comic strip of all time.

Among other important sources (like my family, schooling, and really good books like the Redwall series and Harry Potter series), Calvin & Hobbes helped me make sense of important life lessons, like how to appropriately discuss your interests with friends, the benefits of digging a hole, and the correct usage of a cardboard box.

As Anna and I are back in Michigan for what was a top-notch wedding yesterday (hooray for Bethany and Ajeliti!), I’ve also been soaking up one of my favorite parts of life in the midwest (where Calvin’s family lives): the fall colors.  This is pretty much one of my favorite things to do this time of year, although I regrettably haven’t climbed a tree with a best friend in far too long.  Consider it added to the Year of Fun checklist!

A few months ago, as I’m sure many of you may have noticed, this blog post from‘s Gavin Aung Than began making the rounds on social media.  The artwork was expertly done in the style of Calvin & Hobbes’s artist, Bill Watterson, whose words, taken from a graduation speech he gave at Kenyon College, are the ones you can read throughout the strip.

I was immediately struck by how much this comic strip seemed to match my thoughts about employment at the time.  For a whole host of reasons that really don’t need a whole lot of explanation in this forum, work pretty much made me feel exactly like what the main character of this strip looks like when you first see his face.  And if you go to the zenpencils blog post linked above and read the text underneath the comic, you might read:

“Luckily Watterson didn’t quit and took a sabbatical instead.”

As if I needed something to further validate the Year of Fun that Anna and I were already scrambling to put into motion, this one sentence proved to me that taking this year off from regular employment, from routine, from a steady paycheck, a bed, the normalcy of having all your belongings in one state and under one roof, Doughnut Wednesdays at work, and generally everything that had become a daily comfort in life… that taking this year off from it all was always an excellent idea and warranted probably only 1% of the doubts and worries that were relentlessly creeping into my mindset with Day 1 of the YoF rapidly approaching.

It’s been a few months so far.  I’m noticing myself feeling a lot more like how the main character looks in the last panel.  I still feel on edge about the ways in which I might start selling myself out.  I like the fact that at least one moderately amazing person I’ve learned a lot from took a sabbatical, sort of like what Anna and I are doing.

If you haven’t gone to the zenpencils blog post I linked to above, I highly recommend it.  The comic strip is also just below this sentence, and you can click on it to enlarge it.

This just about sums it all up.  Artwork by Gavin Aung Than of, who apparently is a budding genius.

This just about sums it all up. Artwork by Gavin Aung Than of, who obviously is a budding genius.

Thanks to everyone who we’ve seen, who we’ve stayed with, and who has offered words of encouragement and support to us along our travels so far.  You’re all very much appreciated.  Phase I is pretty much all wrapped up.  Phase II and beyond starts in just a few more days.  Time to go exploring!

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