Sabbatical Of The Mind: The Journey From Anxiety To Peace, by David L. Winters
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookCrash. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
There are many ways that I can identify with this book. The author’s hints of a traumatic youth are something I have more than hinted at in my own writing . The author being fifty and single provides plenty of questions as to why a decent enough fellow was never able to let someone in, given the author’s evident loneliness . The author’s obvious struggle with anxiety is something I can relate to painfully well and is possibly related to the other two previously mentioned similarities as well between myself and the author . It is little surprise, then, that his book managed to engage my sympathies and that I found the author very easy to relate to. Given the sensitive ground which we share, that is no surprise at all. And for a first-time author, at least to my knowledge, the author did a great job of conveying his situation in life and his concern that he needed to slow down for a bit and take better care of himself or he faced an early grave, something I can relate to as well given my own family history of fatal heart attacks before the age of 60. Yet in reading this book, it is hard not to think there is a lot more that the author wishes to elide rather than discuss that would explain some of the nagging questions that one has when reading this book, which is otherwise marked by disarming candor.
This particular volume straddles the line between a memoir of the author’s own sabbatical, its planning and context as well as its aftermath and a self-help book devoted to people who need to take a period of time to slow down, get their physical and emotional and spiritual health in order, in order to prevent the threat of imminent demise, and is organized as one would expect in chronological order. Throughout the author provides a lot of details about his desire to spend time with others, his struggles with loneliness and anxiety, his weight and eating problems, and his commitment to reading and reining in his spending. Even during the course of his sabbatical, which lasted five months, he comments that he spent more money than he expected to, which is not surprising given his discussions of going out to eat at restaurants, reading 25 books (and I am guessing he bought them rather than reading them from the library), and going to several concerts that cannot have been cheap–the David Foster concert alone must have been extremely expensive. The author also pursued a couple of dreams on his bucket list, including acting in a movie and writing a book (this one, although another book is on the way, it appears). All in all, the book is framed as a successful story despite the somewhat abrupt way the author went about planning and executing his sabbatical and the tax hit he took as a result of early withdrawal penalties.
At the end of this book the reader will likely feel good that the writer was able to lose some weight, learn some life lessons, and become a much less anxious person. Will he ever find a wife? Will he be able to live until his federal retirement? Will be keep up his health and find some happiness in his new church? Who knows? We know that the author is a fundamentally decent person, with some worthwhile interests and something worth saying about his life. This book, around 200 pages, manages to set up a lot of interest in the other stories the author is saying. If you like this book, you likely want to hear the author talk about why he is so anxious and nervous in the first place and what sort of past traumas it comes from, why it is that he thought it necessary to join the military in order to be seen as a strong, masculine figure, and whether or not the author finds happiness in the future. I found this to be the sort of story I would like to read more of and thought the author did a good job at painting a period of his life and encouraging others to take Sabbaticals as well and to have them serve a life of a believer.
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