A Few Lessons From a Forced Vacation

Okay, so the last couple of months here have been more about me than anything else and that will change. Not today, but still. Reality is, everything has been about me for the last four months around here and what happens in my life happens in the blog and so there you are. (Then again, my daily traffic has been steady in the recent days I haven’t posted, so maybe my mother is the only reader after all.)

About four months ago, I noticed after a meeting that I was short of breath and my chest was tight. I figured it would go away, a friend urged me to get to the ER even as I drove to work a Diamondbacks game, and that was that. Except that wasn’t that and a month later (brilliant, yeah?) I finally did go to the ER and found the heart condition I’ve had my entire adult life had decided it was done playing games.

And was it ever. What had been a minor leak in a valve had become major and it quickly was determined a repair would be needed. Welcome to the Zipper Club, kiddo. No secret handshake required. The result of all of this was I was left with almost no energy. I hid it as best I could when working with clients on the phone and I even sold a couple of homes on that first hospital stay, though it’s not something I’d recommend trying.

While waiting for the surgery, getting up and moving around was difficult at best. If I walked 1,000 feet in a day it was a lot. Too much excess fluid, not enough blood pumping … the surgery couldn’t come soon enough. Even prospecting – just picking up a phone or writing a note – was requiring more energy than I was able to produce. This, to be blunt, sucked.

Fast forward two-plus months. Surgery was performed last Thursday – two valves repaired, as the other one decided, much like my children, that if the other one got help then it should too. By Friday, I was sitting in a chair. Saturday was a day of small walks and promises that I’d see exponential improvement. On Sunday I was past my 1,000-foot daily limit on a single walk. Monday was a mile spread through the day. Wednesday I was home. And Thursday, I jumped back into the business with both feet except for here – but again, it’s only my mom anyway here.

I’ll spare you all the life-altering, second chance mumbo-jumbo and simply tell you a couple things this all as taught me.

  • Don’t screw with your heart. Get to a doctor if something feels off and now.
  • Listen to the experts. I turned this to a real estate post a couple of months back but the reality is the experts likely know more than you do and aren’t coming from an emotional place. Real estate agents aren’t attached to your home and are more likely to price it to you sell than you are, being the person who measured your child’s growth on the doorframe. Cardiologists don’t want to hear you’re fine when everything says you’re not.
  • Savor the little things. Value your friends and family. Yeah, that one’s mushy … moving on.
  • Welcome the opportunities and possibilities

This whole episode has left me a little limited in what I’ve been able to do so over the past couple of months I’ve paired with a couple of agents to working as my buyers’ agents and also paired with a half-dozen rental agents. The result? I have multiple clients being helped on any given day, more than the one I could take around myself, while I’m able to spend more time working the phones to stay in touch with past and current clients and identify future clients. It’s a fairly old formula for real estate but one I wouldn’t have used if not for necessity.

While the whole “it’s a great time to buy” concept gets mocked, particularly here, I’m still asked whether it’s a good time to buy or sell a couple of times a week. For some it is, for some it isn’t, and for some (particularly the sellers) it is and they just don’t want to admit it to themselves as they wait for a 50 percent rebound in the Phoenix real estate market. That’s another post for another day.

The point is, keep yourself open to the opportunities and spend less time like the dog holding a bone over the river. The someday you’re waiting for price-wise may not come, the “deal” you’re wanting may already be a deal on the basis of list price alone depending on the depth of the descent in a given area. Open up to the realities and the possibilities and you’ll find yourself moving forward instead of sitting in virtual hibernation, wondering how to allocate your 1,000 feet of movement on a given day.

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at allphoenixrealestate.com.


  • BawldGuy 7 years ago

    OK — I thought, either he’s on the most ill-timed vacation ever, or he’s dealin’ with a health issue. So happy to hear it was the later, considering the results.

    When’s your first 10K?

  • Jonathan Dalton 7 years ago

    You funny.

  • Kristen 7 years ago

    It’s not just your mom – you’re still in my Google reader (OK, I’ve never deleted anyone from there, but still…). I’m glad you’re up on your feet so quickly!

  • BawldGuy 7 years ago

    I thought so. 🙂 Good to have ya back.

  • John Wake 7 years ago

    Good to hear you’re better than ever! You still got ASU football season tickets again this season? You still in the end zone?

  • Jonathan Dalton 7 years ago

    Too dumb to surrender, John … same spot, working on finding a driver for the opener since I won’t be cleared to drive myself quite yet.

  • Mark Howery 7 years ago


    I’m truly. saddened to hear about your health scare and that I just came to this realization! I’ve had a few life-changing ‘experiences lately as well and would have checked in much earlier had I known. Please contact me at my home # or my new email addy cuz it would be great to catch up.

    Take care of that temple_ missin’ ya buddy!!!


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