I can't stress the power of the sabbatical enough. Make a promise to yourself right now that you are going to do it! Right now ... make the commitment to yourself.
I am currently on my 5th sabbatical. Depending on who we talk to, we say it is a "Gap Year" or in some circles "Retired", but it is a block of time that we are taking to explore things that are impossible to do while working.
I was introduced to the concept while working at Apple when there was an official sabbatical program. Sabbatical #1 was when I stared to build an airplane that I first flew in 1997. When Jobs came back, he eliminated the program ... but too late ... the seed was planted. I decided then and there that the concept was so GREAT, that I was going to take one every 5 years whether I needed one or not.
Sabbatical #2 was all about travel.
Sabbatical #3 was an epic one where we home schooled our son and traveled around the world for the better part of a year.
Sabbatical #4 was spent in the mountains. Oh how I love the mountains.
Sabbatical #5 started with a few weeks in Austin & Colorado and now we are just embarking on a trip out west in the Airstream.
I ALWAYS return from the time off with a different perspective on what needs to be done next. Separating from the day to day provides space to think deeply about many things. A time for adventure and activity with the whole family. Priceless.
What is the big worry? That you will run out of money, never be able to work again, lose health coverage and just generally be a big let down to those that depend on you? What are the odds of that scenario happening? Less than 1%? On the other hand, what are the odds that the adventure will be one of the most incredible things you've ever done in your life. I'm saying those odds are closer to 99%. I'll take those odds. My experience has been 4 for 4 and I expect the same on the 5th try.
Here's hoping that you will find a way to make it happen for yourself in 2017. Why not 2016? Well it does take some time to plan out the logistics and you don't want to short change that experience.
For the next 6 weeks, I'll be actively updating our personal website with more "Playful" posts. Weekly updates on work will continue here. Sabbaticals are definitely work related. They are good for you. They are good for your employer. They are good for your customers. They allow you to see things differently.