Excuse me, but it's time to breath
August 8, 2007

Have you ever stopped, taken a moment to breath, and consciously excused yourself from life? This is precisely what I'm trying to convince my husband to do. I want to taste the free life, and I want Jared to enjoy it with me.

We've been married for five years, and with the exception of the past two months we've both been students the entire time. During the course of our five years together we've earned two bachelors degrees, produced one ninety page thesis, earned one masters degree (with a 4.0), and we're on the cusp of adding a doctorate to this list. We have excellent professional references and an excellent credit rating. We've lived comfortably within our means, have splurged on two movies in the past three years, and have a savings account the size of Alaska. I've run one full marathon, two half marathons, and a thousand other races in between. Add one child born via c-section, a cross country move, and a house flip to the mix, and you've got a pretty clear picture of our first few years together.

I should mention--I'm twenty-six years old.

Impressive? I'd say so. Exciting? You bet. Exhausting? I'm just starting to feel it.

I'm ready to take a moment, enjoy our successes, and breath. I want some time off.

You see, for the past several months, we've been knee deep in business planning. In following with our pattern of ambition, we've decided to open our own chiropractic practice. Consequently we've been swallowed up by loan applications, interest calculators, profit projections, real estate listings and retainer agreements. I'm just now beginning to understand the commitment and heart it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.

I'm very capable and very willing to do what it takes. I'm just not sure that I'm ready. I want to run away, just for a little while, before life sets in and retirement comes around faster than I can spell 'Mississippi.'

I want to delay opening the practice by a month--well, maybe two. And to pass the time I want to rent a beach house on an island in Maine or a cabin in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, preferably without a TV. I want to hang out in front of a wood stove with my family, I want to slip on the wooden floors in my wool socks, I want to teach James how to build a snowman, and maybe learn some yoga. I want to hear Jared play his guitar, and laugh like school girls at each other's jokes. I want to give James his time outs on an old, rustic set of stairs. I want to cook recipes from The Joy of Cooking, and buy lobster straight from the man who caught it. I want to play cards, and read story books, and maybe even start the writing career that I've wanted since I was twelve.

It's clearly mapped out in my imagination--all that's left to do is convince Jared.

So here's my question to you. Have you ever taken a break from life? Have you stepped away and taken an extended breather? Where'd you go? Was it totally worth it? Was it a complete waste of money? Did you come back to life feeling stressed or refreshed? How did you convince your spouse? I'm curious...


Cathy said...

A long time ago I was fired from a job in May and found another that did not start until August. I spent two months collecting unemployment and exploring NYC (I lived just across the river in Hoboken) and I look back upon it fondly and often. There is NOTHING like waking every morning and having the day open to whatever adventure you can find.

Opportunities like that don't come along often - grab it!

And please consider hiking a few miles of the northern Appalachian Trail for me - I dream of taking off the 6 months someday to walk the whole thing - maybe when the kids are older...

The Carrie Collection said...

First of all I think you should reconsider where you enjoy your break from reality and live it up with me in Utah while I'm on my break. I could really use a trainer so I can make that mile and a half in 10:55. Secondly, yes, you should do all of the things you want for just a month or two. Mainly because I really want to read the book you write but also because just the fact that you are a mom gives you the right to request said break. I can't imagine anything more challenging and difficult.
Third, come on. You don't want to karaoke with me and my friends? I'll totally put you on my blog.

Sarah said...

We haven't gotten quite as many breathers as I would have liked, but yes, we've had a few memorable "time outs" that I get to think about when I get stressed. Mainly renting places on a beach for a week and doing nothing.

The way I convinced my practical husband to do it was to figure out ALL the details beforehand, make all the phone calls and get all the kinks figured out before I even approached my husband. Then when I told him about it, he didn't have to do a thing and was happy to go on our "pre-planned" vacation. All he had to do was say yes and we were ready to go.

blb said...

I was reading your blog and the comments and I agree with sarah. With me being the man, my wife did the exact same thing. She set up the cabin in the mountains of gatlinburg and all the details. All I had to do was say yes. It was great.

The only thing is that when you get back most likely the man who was working so hard will think of the time delay and the money spent.

I say it was worth it but those thoughts still happen.

Take the time off if you really have been that busy.


Penny said...

You guys type A's? It must be very difficult right now for you to have any leisure time, with trying to get your future lives planned. Stressful too. That's a lot of work! And it's very exciting. :-)

Got my grad degree while I was working full time. When finished basically vegged out for a month. My man got his grad degree the same way. It was a burn out, so we know what you're feeling. We both have stressful jobs.

We really plan for breathers in our life. A lot of weekend jaunts, local places that don't require a lot of driving. Rent a hotel for one night. Kick back, really relax. See some sights. Eat out. Go with the flow. We prefer the ocean or someplace near water.

We always plan a two-week vacation every year. We feel two-weeks allows ample time to slow down and regerate. While sometimes hectic, those experiences are worth every cent. We've been to Italy twice (awesome trips!). We're going to CA wine country this year. We plan on Paris next year. My darling man does most of the planning, he's good with that, where I'm not so much.

I've taken an entire weekend to do something for myself, and often times I let a lot of other things go to do it. That was a hard habit to get into - letting stuff go.

Man and I both value "alone" leisure time as much as our "together" leisure time.

But I have to say it's the effort we make to take short-term breathers together that really has the most affect on us, makes the most difference.

Good luck! Hope you guys get some really great breathing time in soon.

Amy said...

I have a somewhat opposite problem. The relaxing part of my life is when I get to spend consecutive days in my own house vacuuming, dusting, and cooking yummy stuff. My husband is the one who plans adventure after adventure, and while I love adventuring with him, it's nice to remember what my bed feels like.

Maybe you can tell Jared what my husband often says: "I have 40 more years to work, but I'll only be young a little while longer." Kind of like what my uncle said about delaying marriage: "Eternity is a long time. You can only shorten it from one end."

Amy said...

While I haven't taken many long breaks, I have done a few short ones. They were just enough to be refreshing and long enough to stay in my memory banks and plan for a next one. My husband took a year just to be with our kids. Dropped his career in accounting and just enjoyed the family. When he was ready to return to the "real" world, he choose something he wanted to do (law enforcement) and has been giddy as a kid since. If you do want you love, everything else follows. Good luck and great blog.

Angela Sumner said...

i hope you manage to make your plans a reality - it sounds like a wonderful adventure and i imagine once your busy with the new business the opportunities for escaping will be few and far between.

good luck with it all :)

Erin said...

I'm a Snowflake mom who has religiously read your wonderful blog ever since Katy first posted it for us...that is until 2 weeks ago when my laptop finally took the big poop. Now I'm back with a new hard drive and trying to catch up, so I apologize for this late comment.

I just wanted to share my "take a break" story. I have been a workaholic for as long as I can remember. I worked through high school, worked 80 hours a week pursuing my bachelors degree, and then 60 hours a week for my masters. (At the time I actually thought I was taking it easy). When I started grad school I decided I was going to spend a summer in Europe. I asked everyone I knew to go with me. They all said no. I talked incessantly about backpacking and how much fun it would be, and what we would see. They still said no. And then, Christmas of 1998, my wonderful and overly generous friend who had already graduated presented me with a simple card, $400, and Rick Steve's "Europe Through the Back Door". Thus began our plans. Me, the workaholic who never took a day off, let alone 2 months. This was the only "break" I've ever taken, and quite often I long for the chance to do it again. It was priceless. I will have the memories forever, not only of the places we saw or people we met, but about the freedom that came with not being tied down to working. It was only 2 months, which is nothing in the great scheme of life. I remember as the time got closer having second thoughts and wondering what I was thinking agreeing not to work for 2 months. But it was completely worth it. I will always remember that time, and I will always look forward to the next time I get to take such a break.

This is going to be the only time in your lives (prior to retirement) that you can take such a break without consequences. I REALLY hope you get to do this, enjoy your time, enjoy your family, relish in the simplicity of that which is life. You will definitely need it as you go through the initial pains of opening your own practice. You will all need to have a "simpler time" to look back on and remind you why you're together. :) And once you're through that phase and have a successful practice, it will be that much harder to "take a break from life"

Good luck!


Amy said...

Thanks Erin! Just wanted to let you know that I saw your comment. Europe sounds awesome!