So often in my life I have felt like I’m failing when I’ve actually been taking a break. After college I had various odd jobs and every night I read books. I read a book a night for a while. I used to ignore that part of my story — glossing over it and skipping from college graduation to professional beach volleyball. But the late-afternoon reading that slipped into late-night reading was my break.

I was exhausted from navigating the social life of school. I was dying to read books I chose myself. Maybe most importantly, I needed time to process my nightmare childhood. Because when you are living a nightmare you can’t process. You are just surviving.

The next time I took a break was when I got fired from a high-paying writing job. The break wasn’t then. It was before then. I was sending my editor articles I had already published and telling him they were new. He found out and I felt terrible. I loved the job and I loved the editor. For years I hated myself for being so dishonest.

But I needed a break. I had a child who was failure to thrive, and I had no help from family and I was the sole breadwinner in New York City. It was too much. The pressure was killing me and the only way I knew how to get a break was to lie.

I have more resources now. So I took a break from writing and I cashed out my stock in my last company. People said to me, “Are you sure you want to do that? The company is very close to exiting. You should hold onto the stock.” People told me this was a financially unsound decision.

I didn’t want to tell them how much I want a break. No one thought it was okay. Every single person told me spending that money was not worth it. But I’ve just been through a relocation, a divorce, and a job loss.

Of sorts. It’s been hard to see.  I didn’t believe it was a relocation since I left all my stuff and the kids’ stuff at the farm. I didn’t believe I was getting a divorce since I wasn’t really married. And I didn’t believe it was a career change because I knew I’d always write my blog. It’s very hard to see our own reality until we step back from it and take a break.

Like my other breaks, I told myself I was an irresponsible failure. But unlike the last breaks, it didn’t take me ten years to see the value in the break.

In hindsight, after every major life change I have had to take a break to recalibrate. The life narrative before my generation was that people who worked started working after college and never stopped until they retired — usually from the same company where they started — at age 65. No one took breaks at life changes because there weren’t any. Women graduated from college and had kids. Men went to work.

I tried to searched to find the history of the idea of taking a break and when it became common in one’s career. The third search result is why men need to recharge between orgasms. Of course. But I found most articles about taking a break are about productivity (or lack thereof). And that people think of a break as sitting with the kids watching SpongeBob.

A fresh addition to the discussion of breaks is Dave Crenshaw’s book The Power of Having Fun: How Meaningful Breaks Help You Get More Done. He writes about different types of breaks – in terms of daily, monthly, and yearly. I emailed Dave to tell him I’d be writing about his book. “It’s a great fit on my blog,” I told him. As if I am a person who writes regularly on a blog.

I told him I’d write about it and a month later, I had not written anything. He is a guy who understands a break, so he took it in stride. But people who aren’t reliable are not taking a break. They are doing something else.

He didn’t say this. But the crux of his book is that we need to plan breaks. So that they are not breakdowns. Planned breaks recharge us.

But back to that article about orgasms. Women don’t need a break in between orgasms. But they do go through periods of life when they don’t want to have sex. That’s a good model for me when I think of taking a break to recharge.

My breaks may be long, but I bounce back.  And maybe the great thing about being 50 is that I can see the patterns of being me, and this time I could trust that I’d bounce back. Also, I could see that the other times I had taken a break were important and not irresponsible or indulgent, so I took a leap of faith that this one was meaningful as well.

I cashed out all that stock so I didn’t have to work as hard to support my family during a tumultuous time in my life. When people ask me why I don’t have a pile of money after my company exits, I will say I sold too early. People will feel sorry for me.

But I don’t feel sorry. I feel resilient. Because when you don’t plan a break, you don’t know when the break will end. And that’s scary. I think that’s the real difference between a break and a breakdown.

Most of the articles I found on taking a break were about love and relationships. Women recover from breakups better than men do because women get really sad after a breakup and men just move on. But going on that emotional rollercoaster is an important step toward moving to the next stage. And men are more likely to never get over the breakup. They never move on.

The same is true of life changes. I have found that can’t really get through that change without the emotional rollercoaster. Mourning for your past life. Fearing change. Denying that you’ll have to do something new.

The Harvard Business Review tells executives they need to take a break from solving business problems, and The New York Times published a piece about decision fatigue associated with the duress of everyday life. But I didn’t see many people writing about taking a break and looking like you are destroying your life. Even though I’m pretty sure that that’s what it actually looks like.

So I’m recommending that. Or at least, I’m telling you that I’ve done it three times in my life and it has been essential to remaking myself. But remaking yourself is hard. It’s not a scheduled, two-week break. It’s months or years of being lost and squandering way too much time and energy trying to recover from the disappointment of having to restart.

And the people with the most successful careers are able to face emotional terror and likely financial destruction in order to make a change. Which is to say that a vibrant, fulfilling life is one full of planned breaks but also unplanned breakdowns.

59 replies
  1. funkright
    funkright says:

    I keep telling my wife I want to take a year off. If we sold our house, downsized our spending it’s achievable. She’s just not buying the program yet. I’m not near to breaking down, just tired of the hamster wheel that’s all. One more kid, 2 years left in high school, then off to college; maybe then… Maybe then…

  2. Graham
    Graham says:

    This is great. We so badly underestimate the power of destruction. Sometimes only a breakdown gives us the opportunity to create something new and sustainable again.

  3. Cáit
    Cáit says:

    Love this! I think this is why homeschooling specifically and mothering generally is so hard. It lacks organic breaks.

    • Wendy
      Wendy says:

      Agree! I’m not homeschooling (though I am a sympathizer). I have a 7 year old in Grade 2 and a three year old, and lately I have been thinking of the relentlessness of motherhood. How it just goes on and on, day after day, year after year. I do love my kids, and I”m an introvert so home life suits me better than evenings socializing in wine bars, etc. Except when I seem to spend every night waiting for kids’ bedtime so i can read/think what i want. Maybe one day I’ll send them to sleep away camp.

  4. Alexandra Leh
    Alexandra Leh says:

    Penelope, your post rings deeply true for me. I’m 13 years ahead of you in the human stream, so I’ve had a few more opportunities to recalibrate, but that doesn’t matter. If we’re alive, we’re subject to change.

    Each loss I’ve experienced has been a gift I didn’t see ’til hindsight…and I’ve always come through a little smarter and less fearful of the next inevitable shift.

    I’m closing in on another one, a big one, right now. I’m a writer and book editor, and I’ve been my mother’s fulltime caregiver for the past few years, here in my Downtown LA loft. The circumstances that changed her life in 2015 were excruciatingly awful, and I rushed to bring her here to live with me. All the things you’ve ever heard about the challenges of being an only child and being your parent’s fulltime caregiver are too true…but I’m grateful that my profession allows me to work at home, and thankful for the time with my mother.

    Now, her 93-year-old body is wearing out. Continuous hospice care will begin fairly soon (too soon for me to lose my best friend), and she’ll leave the earth.

    This will be a tectonic shift for me, and I’m already preparing for it as best I can. But it isn’t like making sure you have enough water and canned goods and batteries. It’s an etheric prep, and I won’t know if I did a good job ’til it hits. And in the aftermath.

    I do know it helps to be open about it. Like you, I have no qualms about that. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Randa
      Randa says:

      Keep as much perspective as you can, although I can only imagine what you’re going through. My mostly healthy,strong, 61-year-old mother is my best friend, advisor, role model, hero. She’s my next door neighbor and favorite traveling companion. I know I should think about life after she’s not here, but I just see a lot of monotony and emptiness. Like when one half of an old married couple is gone, the other doesn’t really know how to continue. I’ve always kind of hoped we die together on some adventurous trip. At least it will be a good story to preserve our memories.

      • Alexandra Leh
        Alexandra Leh says:

        Thank you, Randa…I feel you. My mom and I have been close friends since my 56-year-old father died 40 years ago. He was a famous musician, and she and I launched his legacy collection 4 years ago. I’ve started writing a music family memoir, filled with stories that span the 40 years he, Mom and I worked in music. Because I work on my clients’ books, it’s been a sloe process, and I probably won’t have a first draft for another several months, and she probably won’t see it. But she and my dad will be alive in the pages. I’ll cry every day, the way I did after Dad died. And, like Penelope, I’ll bounce back.

  5. Jen
    Jen says:

    Aaaaaahhhhhhhhh when an INFJ slows down they tell her she is depressed – when actually we are just taking a break! I needed this! Thank you!

  6. Randa
    Randa says:

    Before I got sidetracked thinking about my own advancing years and those of my family, I was so feeling the concept of breaks. Life is highs and near-invinvibility and then lows and feeling like everything is too much. But if you just remember it’s cyclical, and things will come around, it goes on.

    I love seeing this attitude from you. Go get em, tiger.

  7. ISTJgal
    ISTJgal says:

    “My breaks may be long, but I bounce back. And maybe the great thing about being 50 is that I can see the patterns of being me, and this time I could trust that I’d bounce back. Also, I could see that the other times I had taken a break were important and not irresponsible or indulgent, so I took a leap of faith that this one was meaningful as well.”

    This was such a great post because I’ve been through what feels like a million breaks/breakdowns and I’m still in my 20s (1 more year to go).

    My most recent break/breakdown involved leaving a position to travel for what I thought would be a year…oh did I mention I cashed out my 401k in order to fund said travels lol *sigh* But at the time I felt I really needed to do it. What most travel bloggers/vloggers don’t tell you is travelling for several months or more is WORK and quite exhausting, especially mentally and emotionally. I actually needed a break FROM my “leisure” trip, which I did from my parents spare bedroom.

    Thankfully I’ve found a good position since I’ve gotten back and it is work that’s great for my personality. I’m going to heed ALL the advice Penelope gave me a few years ago about creating a lifestyle that fits me. It seems so obvious to plan a few breaks instead of waiting until my breaking point, but I hadn’t thought of doing that until this post. I don’t want to repeat previous patterns of leaving jobs that weren’t compatible and making myself so financially vulnerable. If there are any ISTJ women (and men) reading this I’d love to know how you’ve done it, especially if you are married w/ a kid.

    • Dana Phillips
      Dana Phillips says:

      I am INFP and I am married with two kids. I just had my 4th mental/nervous breakdown in 8 years when I quit my job last Friday. My husband makes a decent income but i still need to work so I am trying to figure this out.
      Let me know if you wanna talk and I can share some things that might help you in this type of a situation.

  8. Jim Grey
    Jim Grey says:

    Did you find it difficult to decide to cash in that stock? I mean, was that a days-long anguished should-I-or-shouldn’t-I kind of thing? If so, how did you navigate that to make your decision?

    Because in a similar place I might have chosen similarly — sometimes immediate self-care is more important than some future thing that should be very good. But I would have agonized.

    I could use a break. I sold my house and finally moved in with my wife. The house is a mess of boxes, which makes me nuts. It’s a slow process to figure out where everything goes because even after we both got rid of a lot of stuff we still have more stuff than fits here. And my dad is dying, and my wife’s parents need to go into assisted living, and we are both deeply involved with all of that.

    This was the marketing site for my old house, by the way, with photos. It sold in 4 hours at 4k above list. This house was distressed when I bought it. I did a ton of work to make it and its yard look this good. It’s a typical middle-class Indianapolis home.

    http://listing.threesixtyindy.com/bt/5838_Victoria_Dr.html

  9. jessica
    jessica says:

    True. Also American society doesn’t lend itself to taking a break. At my hotel in London right now, the entire staff is rotating on their paid time off leave, 2 weeks here, 3 weeks there. If you work for yourself, it is scarier and more consuming to step away and take a break- also financially prohibitive for most founders. You’re not odd at all for needing time away, and considering how hard you work daily on both the kids and work it makes sense the break would be longer and more pronounced. You are right though at a certain point it’s not a break and it’s avoidance of change. Does this mean you’re prepping to step up to the plate again?

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Yeah, thank you for writing anout avoidance of change. I dodn’t write that but I should have.

      And if I’m being honest with myself, I was extending the break to the point of avoiding. Its scary to work for yourself and be responsible for supporting a family. I think I was also avoiding the constant fear of not being able to earn enough money so I didn’t want to try.

      I know I’m not alone. Most people I coach who are over 45 and supporting kids are frequently overwhelmed by the thought of having to continue supporting them — not that people don’t want to support their families. Its just a huge responsibility unless there’s a lot of money (uaually coming from somewhere else – family etc)

      So my goal now is to not hide when things feel hard. I meed to trust myself more that I will always be able to earn money.

      Penelope

  10. me
    me says:

    “… years of being lost and squandering way too much time and energy trying to recover from the disappointment of having to restart.”

    ^^ This sums up my past year.

    I’m 12 months into my (unplanned) retirement – I’m 52 now. I’ve felt so lost since Oct 2016.

    So, my breakdown-break continues: with no end in sight. I try to be resilient & plan for the future, but it’s so just damn exhausting. And lonely.

    Thanks for posting this — at least I feel a little less alone now ….

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      The lonely part is so true. If you are doing a break/breakdown the only person who can stop/fix it is you.

      I feel silly saying this, but I thonk I wanted someone to rescue me from my break so I didn’t have to rescue myself.

      Penelope

      • Denise
        Denise says:

        Penelope,

        I think that’s so common for women of our generation – raised on the idea that Prince Charming will come and bake everything better. Whatever version Prince Charming takes – a husband, a boss, a fairy godmother. When I became a young widow and had to go back to work, I spent years hoping someone would some and rescue me. I still have a little of that wish.

  11. Shauna
    Shauna says:

    Recently after a 15 year commitment to living in Silicon Valley and keeping our heads above water I asked my husband if he was ready for a ‘mid-life’ opportunity. I felt like it was time for a major shift in our life. He said yes!! We sold the house put our stuff in storage and are traveling around the world with our 8 and 10 year old! It did feel a tad crazy to give up ‘good jobs and solid real estate’ to travel. But after seeing the carnage of a few midlife breakdowns, choosing to take a break vs breakdown is definitely the way to go. Enjoy!!

  12. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    When you’re taking a break, you’re never really taking a break, are you? Slowing down a little bit … maybe. What I mean is that while you’re taking a break from some routine and previous work, you’re still evaluating the why and how of your current position in your life and you’re making decisions and plans on how best to proceed for yourself and family.
    Now that age seems to be trending on this blog in the last few posts, it seems to me to be much more than age. What I’ve noticed from you is much more maturity especially in the last few years. A few other commenters have said it recently and I think there are many more thinking it. There are some benefits to getting “old” especially if you’re able to maintain your physical and mental health. You get to recognize and use your prior experiences to current life experiences and that’s what I see you doing here. Also, you regularly write about resilience as your saving grace. I think it’s more than just resilience. I think it’s a combination of resilience and adaptability as I think it’s necessary to have both to be able to recalibrate and reframe. If it were just resilience, you’d be springing back to the same state you were previously in. Obviously, that’s not the case as you’re also making adjustments (adapting).

  13. harris497
    harris497 says:

    Penny,

    You’re ready to get back on the horse – so to speak. Break time is over, I can tell it from your writing, and so can anyone who’s been a follower for a number of years. You’ve come to terms with your “tragedy” and now you are on the prowl even if you don’t know it – do you recognize the signs in yourself?
    Continue to be good to yourself, and to those who you engage with – even if there is nothing they can do for you. But now it is time to consciously acknowledge that you are back in the game, and just do what you know how to do. Create something…
    Mytwocentsworth.

  14. Sara
    Sara says:

    This post is very timely for me. I’m in my 30’s and just got dumped by a man who turned out to be a raging drug addict. My career isn’t going well and I’m in a part of the country that doesn’t fulfill me. I realized that if I didn’t take a 10 day break I was going to have a meltdown. I’m barely hanging on until next Friday…

  15. jen
    jen says:

    I have never taken a break. I wonder a break I defined might look like. It’s something I’m going to give a lot thought to as I plan my first break, age 50.

  16. Courtney
    Courtney says:

    Hi Penelope!

    I’m late to the party- I have been binge reading your blog this past week. I am a 28 year old ENFP who was totally burned out on school and work at 26. I started having panic attacks and mental health issues. Basically, I had a breakdown. I took an “unplanned break.” I quit my job. I sold my stuff. I moved back to the town my family lives in. And you know what? I think now that it was one of the best things that could have happened to me- now that I’m feeling like I have my sparkle back. I realized how much I was doing for other peoples approval at my own expense.

    Reading your blog helped me realize the reason why I got so burnt out- I went to public school and graduated high school and college with honors. It was crushing. It was so much effort even though I’m so bright. I’ve tried so hard to cram myself into a system I never belonged in.

    I want to be a stay at home mom. I am looking for a husband that will be a breadwinner and who’s priority is family. I want to teach my kids. I want to do creative work for the joy of it.

    My friends think that’s a fantasy- I refuse to believe this. I’m tired of being told to be more realistic and stay in line. I’ve literally done that my whole life. I have older women telling me I’m wasting my potential and my talents. I’m wasting my brain. My dad was hoping I’d excel in the corporate world. My mom is my one supporter, she was an INFP stay at home mom back when it really wasn’t cool at all. Maybe I wouldn’t think it was a legitimate life choice if she hadn’t done it, like my friends do.

    I think it’s so great that you are empowering women to feel like it’s a valid choice to take care of children. To want to take care of a marriage. To want to marry someone with money that provides for that.

    Thanks for the blogs about ENFPs, it was really shocking for me to read about how crushed we are by school and then liberating to realize I was’t weak or a failure for feeling so burnt out.

    Your blog helps people. It’s really been helpful to me. I hope you finding lots of rest and healing and hope during your unplanned break. Xo

    • Zingifer
      Zingifer says:

      “I want to be a stay at home mom. I am looking for a husband that will be a breadwinner and who’s priority is family. I want to teach my kids. I want to do creative work for the joy of it.”

      This is exactly what I want and have wanted for a long time. After my previous marriage ended (which did not provide that anyway) and I found myself a single mom I finally started trying to accomplish the part of it that I could do myself. It took a few years to believe it was possible, but I also moved back to my hometown, started working from home full time and home schooling my son. In my small amounts of spare time I have even resumed some of the creative pursuits that fulfill me. The husband part of the equation has not materialized, and I don’t know if one ever will, but I still feel like I’m working towards the dream as best I can on my own. The hardest hurdle is the mental one, and giving up the concept that it is only possible through someone else, especially when nobody else supports or encourages this version of life. But it’s what I want.

    • Commenter
      Commenter says:

      Your friends are not right. Maybe your friends are telling you something they have to believe to keep going.

      It is entirely possible to have a household in which one spouse works at a good career and the other spouse stays at home and takes care of the children. I would even argue that it’s better for the children, and that it’s better for the spouse with the career. It has been for our family.

      The first thing you need is the conviction that your goals are noble. Don’t think about what you’re doing as quitting. Think about it as reaching for something better. You really want to spend your life caring for others, emotionally supporting a spouse and children? Who says that’s not worthwhile? Fools. Who wants a world without people who do that?

      The second thing you need is the right partner. If you want to be a stay-at-home parent, you need a spouse with ambition and a good career. I don’t know much about your situation, but if you’re like me the best prospects were at college. That was almost a decade ago for you, right? Not so long ago that classmates have forgotten you. You’ll have a 10 year reunion coming up, so go. It worked for me!

      People are different, and we want different things for ourselves. What a sad world it would be if we all were the same and wanted the same things. Feel strong for pursuing your own goals and dreams rather than someone else’s.

    • BH
      BH says:

      ” I am looking for a husband that will be a breadwinner and who’s priority is family.” To support a family, that means someone with a six figure income. And also considers you an equal partner. Not impossible, but certainly not easy these days.

      • Elizabeth
        Elizabeth says:

        A six figure income is only necessary if you want to live in a city/ expensive part of the country. My husband and I live with our daughter in a small town in California and even though our area is considered semi-expensive, we manage to have a lovely life (mortgage on a great house, two cars, not scrimping) on his five figure income plus a small amount I earn working from home. If we lived in another state I wouldn’t have to work at all!

        I had a breakdown/break five years ago at age 30 – I quit my job, sold my stuff, went on a road trip, and found my new hometown and then husband three days after I arrived. Best decision I ever made!

        • Zingifer
          Zingifer says:

          I do not have anywhere close to a 6 figure income and I support myself and my child by living within our means… and when I was married before I also supported my ex-husband. It takes commitment from both parents to live on one income but I certainly believe it is doable on a moderate wage. I’m 35 and I find that most men in my age range who are looking to get married cannot even support themselves, let alone a family. If I can do it… my potential spouse should be able to. Just because a woman is looking for a man willing to be the breadwinner does not mean she wants someone rolling in wealth nor that she is planning to spend it all, which is the reaction many men have when I tell them that. The practical matter is it is very difficult to raise children and also have a full time job. Childcare (to facilitate that full-time-job if you cannot work from home, which most cannot) is quite expensive, so it can also make better financial sense for one parent to not hold a regular job.

          • Elizabeth
            Elizabeth says:

            “Just because a woman is looking for a man willing to be the breadwinner does not mean she wants someone rolling in wealth nor that she is planning to spend it all, which is the reaction many men have when I tell them that. The practical matter is it is very difficult to raise children and also have a full time job.”
            +1!
            My ex-H wanted children, but any mention of him becoming the sole breadwinner for longer than a year or two led to snide “You think I’m an ATM” – type comments.

    • Brad
      Brad says:

      Speaking as a guy, I hope you don’t ever say the word “breadwinner” on a date. It’s 50 years out of date. To be blunt, when you say it, we hear “gold digger”. Except for a handful of saints, that word scares off 95% of the population, leaving only hyper-traditional religious nuts, trophy-wife hunters, or guys so desperate for companionship that they will put up with anything.

  17. YesMyKidsAreSocialized
    YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

    “I want to be a stay at home mom. I am looking for a husband that will be a breadwinner and who’s priority is family. I want to teach my kids. I want to do creative work for the joy of it. ”

    It’s only fantasy if you think this is magically going to happen out of thin air. If you want to attract someone amazing, then first you need to focus on being amazing person yourself. This will attract quality prospects.

    Maybe you need to look for someone outside your age range, say a decade older than you? Generally, someone who is mature, already has the career, and is ready to settle down. Some of the issues that I notice is that women are expecting men to have all of that at their age. That is what is not realistic anymore. It’s taking longer to “adult” these days.

  18. Fallen Sparrow
    Fallen Sparrow says:

    Thank you. I had several deaths of close family members in 2.5 years, I moved to a new town, got a decent job where I worked for six months. After I got put on “probation” I realized that I sucked at my job due to all of my unresolved trauma from the deaths. So I quit. I could easily support myself if I could stay away from Amazon, so I’ll try to enjoy the break & get some healing and creative work done in the meantime.

  19. Karelys
    Karelys says:

    First off, Spongebob is the shit.

    Second, I am terrible at taking breaks and really truly taking breaks. I feel so guilty. But I am done thinking of a Saturday-do-nothing day is a break. It’s maintenance. It’s just how much it takes me (spacing off staring at the microwave drinking coffee) is just how I am made.

  20. Sandra
    Sandra says:

    Penelope,
    The issues you bring up in this post made me think of a sad, but good movie starring Will Smith named “Collateral Beauty”. Without spoiling the plot, Will’s character goes through a tragedy, has a breakdown and comes full circle in an unexpected way. It probably wasn’t a highly-rated movie, but my husband and I both cried and enjoyed it and the message it conveyed. Just thinking about it made me tear up just now! (But in a good way!)

    • Sandra
      Sandra says:

      Penelope,
      Oh, and come to think of it, in “Collateral Beauty” Will’s character was a co-owner of a start-up, which plays a big part in the plot of the movie. You might be able to relate to that!

  21. Yvette
    Yvette says:

    I thought I was having a breakdown. Then I thought it was just a break. Then I decided I had retired, and was interested in working part-time maybe, because I needed grounding, but was tired enough to still need the break. In my case the youngest is in college now, and SO is already retired, so I can work or not, although I still have to juggle the finances, so working is better, just not too hard. Have you heard of the Money Mustache movement? Your Money or Your Life, kinda stuff. They talk about quality of life, a lot. You said you liked shared links, so here’s my GenX attempt: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/post-fire/early-retirement-vs-serial-mini-retirements/

    Cheers.

  22. Tanya
    Tanya says:

    Penelope, I read this last week and thought, “She’s back.” But then again, it may be because the post is so spot on with what I’m experiencing. I could not stop thinking about your post, so I just wanted to thank you.

    I’m 47 and recently quit a tenured counseling faculty position. I just knew I needed a break or I would have a breakdown.

    I cashed out part of my retirement funds and am giving myself 18 months to restore and redirect, with the first 6 months dedicated to rest, the next 6 months to travel and the final 6 months to build the next phase of my career. Worst case scenario, I know I can return to my old position. I don’t have children nor a mortgage, so that has been a luxury for me in a sense.

    I am 4 months into my break, and I think I’m finally snapping out of that adrenalin overload and that Rushing Woman Syndrome coined by Dr. Libby Weaver.

    With the exception of caring for my mother, now I read, write, read, write, usually while overlooking a garden and realizing what a break really means for me–at least for the next couple of months. I’m sure it will mean something else while I travel and for everyone else.

    Thank you, Penelope.

  23. Brandon
    Brandon says:

    I am wondering if it is only me – a man – that is noticing how much research is being produced that suggests women are basically better than men at stuff. Not complimentary, or different, but essentially better. Here we have recovery time after orgasms and coping with breaking up.

    I can think of contra-indications to both of the sited examples. When I was younger there was virtually no recovery time required after orgasms required. I would like to participate in a “recovery time after orgasm” study mapped against the level of desirability and receptiveness of the women. (Talking my wife into this might be difficult).

    And I have broken up with partners and sometimes it has been a quick recovery and others time perhaps the love and loss has lingered for years. Either experience was not really under control it just was.

    I have a theory. As more and more women do useless degrees and are more and more contaminated by strident intolerant versions of radical feminism; and more decide to do research, which they can get funded by Foundations and Trusts set up to demonstrated the validating of key feminists and misandric proposition.

    We can anticipate that we will discover that Men are worse at gardening, cooking, thinking, feeling, talking, listening, breathing, eating, living and military service. (I’ve left out urinating as this one is a given). Any way you get the picture.

    In the early eighties when I first encounter feminism as an older teenager it seemed to be arguing for the women’s perspective and contribution to be acknowledged and included. For example it was accepted that on average Men were more analytical and that was GOOD; but women had more emotional intelligence, mainly derived from motherhood, and that was GOOD. How times have changed.

    On breaks and growth, transformation, whatever: what never ceases to amaze me is how the past changes dependent on my present state of mind. The more challenging, traumatic and difficult the experience the more that changes my perspective, the greater the realignment of my past and the more I bring to the future.

  24. Maria
    Maria says:

    My breackdown was related to career change.
    I realized that I need to change my career, but didn’t know how to do it…
    It’s true that the most important in situations like that – take a break, if not – breakdown may happen
    Unfortunately I didn’t know that and, as a result, I had breakdow.
    But what really helped in this moment – it’s a community of right people.

  25. Tykeem Gadsden
    Tykeem Gadsden says:

    Can never agree on most of the time just looking spine of the posts or viewing the whole page just to see what it’says all about and to me it feels like it is really great the read

  26. Joyce
    Joyce says:

    I had breaks when I moved overseas (April to August 2002), moved back home (June to December 2005), visited relatives overseas (December 2008 to February 2009) and rested after my licensure exam (November 2014 to May 2015). It seems I am due for a break next year.

  27. Ed Murray
    Ed Murray says:

    Taking breaks from time to time is necessary for me. I found myself exhausted after writing the same things for several years… It’s becoming a technical process, I’m like a robot, not the creator. It’s depressing to hell. Going on a backpacking trip over the hills and far away gives these so needed changes and the feeling of being alive again is irreplaceable.

  28. Janice
    Janice says:

    I LOVE this– perfect timing too! I’m currently at an impasse with my job (career) and wanting to write (as a new career). My mind/body has been SCREAMING for a break, and I’m starting to listen and figure out how to recalibrate before I press on.

    Thank you for writing this!

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