If you could take off a year or two, what would you do?

Alexei Sorokin
2 min readJan 18, 2022

Taking a year off ain’t happening any time soon for me. Not for decades. Four kids, my career struggles, and so on. And I’m not even sure I’d want a year off if I had the opportunity. But it’s an interesting mental exercise — kind of like I wrote about in one of my other stories (Where would you live if you could live anywhere?)


  • I’d read a lot. Every day for hours. Fiction and non-ficiton. Famous novels and modern authors.
  • I’d do a master's degree in English. English is not my native language and I have a lot of questions. Consider for example the topic of this story. Initially, I wrote If you take a year or two off, what would you do? Then I changed it to place “off” after “take”. I’m not sure which version is right. Or is it “what version is right?” Damn!
  • I’d go to the gym. As a passionate and committed runner, I can’t complain about my fitness, but I hate going to the gym. And I can’t afford it in terms of investing time. I spend 1–2 hours every day running and adding more exercise would be a luxury. I can’t possibly sacrifice my running. So if I had more time, I’d hire a fitness instructor and work on my flexibility and strength.
  • I’d learn to play some musical instrument, probably piano. I can’t play any, I can’t read music notes but the music is in me. I love music.
  • I’d try yoga.
  • I’d learn a language. Spanish or Mandarin.
  • I’d spend several hours every day homeschooling my kids. They do online schooling already, and I’d dedicate myself wholeheartedly to working with them.
  • I’d spend a couple of months at some high-altitude place to improve my running.
  • I’d write a book.
  • I’d probably volunteer with some kids’ sporting activities. Probably. I don’t want to sound righteous and unselfish. But I think I’d enjoy it helping kids get fitter.

Maybe it’s unexpected but I wouldn’t want to travel that much. Travel would be disruptive to my routine. I want to strengthen my daily routine, establish unbreakable habits, not get away from them. If I did decide to travel, I’d visit Asia, especially Japan. I don’t know why Japan but for some strange reason I feel fascinated by this country.

This is how kids dress up our dog Astra. Not related to the story, but why not!



Alexei Sorokin

A Russian immigrant in America, father of 4, Cambridge and Harvard Business School alum. I run and write every day. https://runningwritingliving.substack.com/