Sometimes, You Just Have To Take A Break

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Have you ever run a marathon?

I did, once (just to see what it feels like to run 26.2 miles!).

After the 26.2 mile run, I needed to take a break.

Have you finished a marthon lately?

Did you follow the effort with a well deserved break?

Take A Break

Forest with mist

Sometimes life throws you a marathon,
Sometimes it offers you cake.
There’s time when you work like a madman,
And there’s time when you’ve earned a good break.
The Retirement Manifesto
(yeah, I’m a writer, not a poet)

Running A Marathon…

running a marathon

As any regular reader will know, the last few months of our lives have been a true marathon.  Here’s how our race has played out:

Warm Up:  Our race started with a warm up in early January as we questioned about getting “Mom” moved to the nursing home near our mountain cabin.

The Starting Gun: The gun went off when she was transfered to the new nursing home in Blue Ridge, GA (100+ miles from our home, but only 5 miles from our cabin).  We realized our plan was wrong, and started to run.

Mile 5:  We had a big hill at Mile 5 when we had to exert extra effort to get the house ready for the photographer on short notice, with an international business trip thrown in the middle for good measure.

Mile 10:  After the photographs, we were able to cruise for a few miles until the listing went “live”.

Mile 11:  Big Hills through mile 11, as we had to keep the house “Show Ready” at all moments of the day, with a possible 30 minute notice for a viewing.  Tough to do with 4 dogs in the house!

Mile 15:  Nice downhill as our bidding war erupted, and we were able to accept an offer at a price over our asking price, within 7 Days of the listing going live!

Mile 16:  Nice, cold water helped re-energize our efforts.  The refreshing break came via the story of our sale being selected for a guest post on MillenialMoneyMan’s blog!!

Mile 18:  Suddenly a very steep, but short hill, as we Downsized in 24 Hours!

Mile 19:  A bunch of rolling hills as we went through a 24 hour period where it looked like the deal would fall through, kudo’s to our realtor Heather Hall to pull off a “Stick Save” and keep the race moving forward.

Mile 20-21:  Endurance starts to fade as we load up the furnishings required for my 1 bedroom “City Apartment” and make a Saturday sprint to furnish the apartment.  It’s great to have “running partners” (friends from our church) who were willing to help load the heavy stuff!


Mile 23:  Near exhaustion now, as we work hard clearing EVERYTHING out of our primary house, and prepare for our “final” move of all remaining items to our new downsized home in the mountains.   While we thought we’d done a good job of downsizing excess “stuff”, we’re still amazed at how much STUFF we have, especially in the “unfinished” side of the basement.  We’ll have to leave a nice tip to our trashman after we finish this race, they’ve gone above and beyond in removing the piles we’ve left for them the past few weeks.  Our neighbors now love us, as we’ve loaded them up with stuff we could not longer carry this late in the race.


Mile 24:  We’re heading into the final 10% of the race this coming weekend, with our final UHaul rental scheduled for Saturday, followed by our “last drive” from our primary home to the cabin.  If all goes well, we’ll be 100% out of the house, and into the cabin by this Saturday.  To insure we finish the race on time, we’ve built a 5 day buffer between our planned “final move” date and our closing, allowing us to make any final “sprints” as required to tidy up the house before closing.


Mile 26.2:  At this point, we’re looking at crossing the finish line next Thursday, when closing is scheduled to occur.  If we’re able to get through these last few miles, we’ll be rewarded with a significant increase in liquidity, the ability to payoff our cabin, and the satisfaction of completing our downsizing strategy as planned.

Take A Break

To celebrate the race we’ve run, my wife and I are planning a well deserved break next week.   After driving up to the cabin with our final load on Saturday, we’re going to take a week off.  I’m taking some vacation time from work, and we’ll intentionally slow down, stretch the race weary muscles and kick back on our cabin’s deck to rest our tired legs.  We’ll plan on heading into the city on Thursday to finalize the closing process on our home sale and officially complete the final miles of the race, but for all intents and purposes the “heavy lifting” (literally) effort will be over after we’ve unloaded the last of our possessions at the cabin.

So, we’re going to take a break.

We’re going to take the time to reflect on a major achievement, and spend some quiet time reuniting with each other after a very hectic home sale, downsizing and relocation effort.  We’ll have some nice dinners out, maybe even splurge at one of the “high end” places (with creme brulee to die for!).  We’ll have a breakfast (or two) at our favorite coffee shop in town. We’ll play with the dogs.  We’ll read a few books.  We’ll sit.  We’ll relax.  We’ll hike.  We may even kayak.

Bottom Line:  We’ll intentionally rejuvinate.

(Be forewarned – I may not publish an article next week.  I’m sure you’ll understand.)

Blue Ridge Mountains

What About You?

I asked you at the start of this article if you’d ever run a marathon.  Recognizing now that I was using an analogy, I would argue that everyone reading this has run a few marathons in their life.  Perhaps you’re running one now.

As important as the effort during the race, don’t overlook the recovery.

No one can run forever.

After you’ve run a marathon, you deserve a break.

Recognize the need, and unplug.

Reconnect with your spouse.

Celebrate your achievement.

Be intentional.


Live life.



  1. life as such is a series of marathons… My wife and I have taken the habit to go on a kids-free-weekend twice a year to do what you describe: reconnect, unplug, relax, shop without hassle, sleep out… Ready for the next marathon.

    Good luck with the move

  2. Sounds like you have everything well thought out and energetically accomplished. Congratulations, I think you will love living up in Blue Ridge. We really enjoy not driving in heavy traffic, very few traffic lights , no noise pollution, etc. Now, I am trying to get my “outside” spring work done around the Cabin before I start up my weekly volunteer days at Clingmans Dome. Will be there on Tuesdays April through November. If you are visiting the Smokies on a Tuesday, come on up.

  3. Isn’t it amazing how much “stuff” we accumulate over the years. As you down size, a new freedom comes into play. Can’t say enough about keeping life simpler. Many of the 3 car garages you see are packed with everything but a car. Some day someone you love will have to deal with it, and guess what, they don’t want it. So, Fritz, you’re doing it right by flaring the decks now.
    Enjoy the quiet time! Come see us.

    1. Bill, you’re my hero, and it means a lot to me to see your comment on my blog. You’ve got my word – we’ll come see you! If not before my (early) retirement, we’ll plan on some time with you and Kathy soon after! We’ll keep in touch. BTW, your guest blog was a huge hit, feel free to contribute again, any time!

  4. Congrats on the move. I was exhausted just reading your post about downsizing in 24 hours.
    Your cabin looks wonderful!
    Totally agree you need to take a break when you reach a milestone. Enjoy it!

  5. Hey, well yes, I’ve run and finished 15 marathons! I’m not running them right now, its kind of a crazy hobby and running 1000 miles a year was doing more damage than good to my body. But your analogy is apt, as it would be coming from a certified marathon runner. I never ran for the joy of running, seriously I think the runner’s high is a myth, but I ran because it taught me I could embrace what I previously would have considered superhuman levels of suffering and pain by just taking one step after another and never, ever quitting. Since life has its share of both good and awful periods that’s a valuable thing to learn. At least to me it was. I’ve never run into anything in the real world that pushed me into mental and physical distress worse than that of competitive distance running. When life bears down harshly I go back in my mind to those marathons at mile 18 when all I wanted to do was give up, but never did, and I take one step after another until I finish and can take a break.

  6. We have had a few seasons in life where we just had to keep our heads down and push. Every time we have done a renovation, it was exhausting. The last 4 years have been crazy, which is a big part of the reason we are taking a year off!

  7. The busiest time in my life was my mid 20s. I was working full time in the day and attending college at night. During that period, I also had a girl friend, went to the gym, did volunteer work, sent time with friends, and found time to read for pleasure. I was busy, but always slept 7-8 hour per night. Looking back, it was a great time. The only thing that I did not have time for was watching television other than for following my football team. Being that busy helped me to develop solid time management skills.

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