Why I’m Taking an Adult Gap Year

Why gap years aren’t just for pre-college adolescents anymore.

It’s a gorgeous, cloudless day in NYC as I watch the sun coming up through the kitchen window of my Brooklyn apartment. Since quitting my job 2 months ago, I now start most mornings here, enjoying the day’s first cup of coffee as a familiar rotation of fears run through my head. i.e. The alarming rate I’ve been eating through my savings. Whether I should be aggressively looking for work instead of planning a short-term relocation to Costa Rica.

Still, as I reflect on the reasons I left my job in the first place, I can’t help but feel some elation. My gut had told me for months that I was in the wrong place. I ignored feelings of discontent from my own body, even as I went to physical therapy twice a week for chronic wrist and back pain. More and more, unemployment seemed a happier alternative than staying where I was.

Out of respect for my employer, I waited until I quit to spread the word. It therefore came as a surprise when unsolicited interview offers for quickly began to trickle in, mainly positions similar to what I’d been doing. Shocking both my parents and myself, I turned them down.

I was disenchanted with fighting for space in a noisy, crowded, detached city of over 8 million people. I wanted to try something different. So I did what every gap year student does, and left for Southeast Asia.

Some would say I shot myself in the foot by spending a big chunk of my savings right out of the gate. I disagree. In the end, we all make the choices that makes the most sense to us and deal with the chips where they fall. Whether or not what I’m making a mistake, I know I would rather be here, bumping around in the dark, than where I was before, positive in my unhappiness.

As I build myself up to this conclusion, like I have every morning for the past few weeks, I set my coffee cup down in the sink, pull my laptop towards me, and begin to write.

Are you taking an adult gap year or considering one?