The 2016 Fartlek

My husband underwent his third surgery last week to rid his body of malignant melanoma skin cancer. Looking this demon squarely in the face changes a person. Living life to its fullest becomes more urgent.

I asked him one day what this meant for him? Did he want to travel more? Finally make that trip to Medellin?

winter cabine in the woods

We talked about it for a little while. We’re no longer the traveling type really, partly because of all the dogs, but mostly because we get homesick after only two or three days away.

I suggested we pool all our vacation money into one lump sum that we would advance to ourselves, and buy a little cabin in the same mountains from whence we came. He plugged the numbers into the now infamous retirement calculator, and once again, it did not implode. We were on a mission.

We contacted our trusted real estate agent who enthusiastically undertook this mission despite our measly budget. She gave me a link to the multiple listing service the day she left for a short vacation. I clicked on that link for hours upon hours, finally announcing to my husband there was nothing out there and I needed to take a break. He reminded me it had only been one week.

We broadened our search area, and shrunk it back down again. Finally, we narrowed the search to a handful of properties, and our agent kindly made a video of each little cabin giving us a first-hand, narrated look inside each one. This further narrowed the search to just one little cabin.

It wasn’t perfect. I wanted a farm house, or a cute, stone cottage. It was neither. I didn’t want any other houses to be within sight. There are houses above, below and beside. What this little cabin does have, however, is a loud, rushing creek along its drive. There’s a vaulted ceiling, and warm, rustic wood floors and walls. It has charm.

We debated whether we had lost our minds. . . I made my husband prove the spreadsheet hadn’t lied. It was kind of scary to pull this trigger.

Back CameraThen my sweet, little Dakota was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. My heart was broken. It rained for days as if the very heavens were crying with me.

We called our trusted agent again, asked her advice, and made our offer. After a few back-and-forths with the Sellers, we settled the deal on New Year’s Eve.

If 2015 has taught me anything it is that life is short, and this lesson comes just in time for setting goals for this new year.

There are many things to be accomplished this year. Rooms are yet to be finished in our lovely, old house, and a landscape to be designed. A marathon is scheduled for this winter, and an ultra-marathon for the fall. There are long, decadent hikes promised to Dudley, and my husband and I are ecstatic about fixing up our little cabin in the mountains.

While these things will fill the days of the coming year and yield a sense of accomplishment, they will not be the things that matter most by this time next year.

This year’s best memories, and most important achievements will come from spending time with those I love. I’ll treasure this time with Dakota, taking precious care of her to her last day, and I’ll be thankful for every moment shared with family and friends.

And, along the way I will hope to write a compelling synopsis of this year’s fartlek through life for all those readers willing to follow along. Thank you for reading.