The "grind" and "normal" life will still be here when you get back and you can jump back in any time.
That's what I need to hear.
I'm 25, no kids, finishing up a master's degree, and I'm not enjoying the idea of sitting at a desk for another 35-plus years working my butt off for three weeks of vacation a year if I'm lucky. For me, I feel like it's now or...well...a LONG time from now.
I just wish I'd been bitten by the cruising bug a few years earlier, so I'd have more saved up. Optimistically, if my GF and I both save a LOT, we might be ready to go in three years. Assuming a four year maximum cruise length, then I'd be 32.
Now I know I'll catch hell for this, but to me that seems OLD. Just a few years ago, it feels like, I was 18. I'm having a hard time realizing that I now round my age UP instead of down. The "conventional" part of my brain says that I should be settling down soon, and that 32 is just too late to get started on a career. Luckily I have you guys and my parents (children of the '60s that they were), who are more than happy to disabuse me of this notion at every opportunity; my mom switched tracks and became a lawyer at 40. So I know it can be done.
I guess I just need to hear it from someone else occasionally. Listening to oneself can be hard, and the voice is often contradictory.