Why Take A Gap Year?

Lately I have seen many people taking a gap year. Now I decided to have mine. But why so many people are doing it? I will tell you my story.

In one phrase my reason to take a break was an internal call to “reconnect to myself”.

Here are three feelings that lead me to this :

1. Have a balanced lifestyle and better quality of life

Lifestyle in Paris, like in any megapolis, reminds me a race. In Paris we call it “métro-boulot-dodo”, that means that your life becomes a mix of three main things: transport, work and sleep.

I have a demanding intellectual work (consultancy in management and organization) that is asking to solve complicated, divers and always new problems. This means that you keep thinking about it even after working hours. Lately I have started to have continuously growing feeling that my work became my life and I don’t have many other things. Mixed with gray sky and quite cold and humid weather 6 months per year, it easily creates a feeling of depression.
It could be compensated by interpersonal relationships and heartwarming activities together, but when it’s the race there is not enough time for it. We spend the most of the time at work and it affects our personal life (self-realization, hobbies, introspection, self-development, knowledge acquisition, adventures, discoveries, relaxation, improvement of quality of life) and our social life (relationships with family, friends, loved one’s, acquaintances, social contribution).
At this stage I asked myself : do we really need to work so hard for so many hours? Why do we do it? What would be a schedule for a better quality of life? And what do we actually need as human being?

2. Find the meaning and reconsider basic needs

Today’s world is the accumulation of things and the meaning of its existence is often forgotten. Infinite economical growth, as idea of capitalism, creates an exhaustive production and lying advertisement that pushes us to buy more and more new stuff without any real need. That leads to overproduction and waste, pollution, ressource possession inequality, moral judgment, corruption, low life quality, etc. But do we need it? What is the meaning of having it? Don’t we need to consider simplifying on a meaningful basis instead complicating everything on a margin case opportunity? What do we really need to be happy?

Actually, it’s water, food, shelter, human relationships and nature that are our basic needs. For example, Maslow defined the pyramid of human needs. It’s the balanced satisfaction of them that leads us to a harmonious and happy life.

Why not concentrating our life activities such work and personal time on considering to improve the access to these basics and its quality for everyone including ourselves?

3. Have an impact and increase personal utility

The industrial age education system is oriented on a provision in workforce for big enterprises to realize its production. The treatment of people as resources means absence of global vision on their personal importance and on the social impact of their actions and causes employees’ frustration and active disengagement. Placing the human being in the center of reasoning via discovering its profound motivations to realize it’s passion brings the most value to society. Another negative point is that today’s enterprise goal is to maximize the profit, whatever the way is.

What is the meaning of my work? How do I help to build a better society? Can I do something more important to increase my value for people I’m working for? What is this value? Do I really love what I do? Does it have a positive impact? Do I have a global vision for the part I’m working on?

Willing to improve these three feelings and answering above-stated questions, here is the way I defined for myself for this gap year :

1. Disconnect from work and relax to have a clear and receptive mind.

2. Discover the world and understand my real profound motivations via travelling, reading, talking and experience some meaningful and inspiring activities.

3. Choose my own path and start my first actions towards self-realization for other’s well-being.

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