45 Days

Rest when you’re weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work.”

-Ralph Marston

When was the last time you stopped to lay in the grass and look at the stars in the sky? When was the last time you left your phone at home and sat with your toes in the ocean? When was the last time you truly had nothing to do and you let the boredom run over you like a cool rain shower on a hot summer day?

I spent 45 days in some sort of the state above.

45 days.

Some days it was the greatest thing in the world, and some days it was torturous.

I’ve worked at least one job, often more than one job, since I was 14 years old – so not having a job and taking that pause was overwhelming. I spent most of the first few days in a daze, and I honestly couldn’t tell you when the days started and ended.

I wasn’t use to this kind of freedom.

I found myself reflecting on a message from church about rest and the value it has on our soul – so I decided that I should enjoy this period of rest. I should embrace it in the following ways:

  1. Buy a book and a new journal
  2. Take a walk every day
  3. Write down something in that journal I bought every day
  4. Spend more time with people who bring me joy
  5. Take adventures – no matter how big or small

Books and Journals

I definitely devoured books during those 45 days. I read for hours at a time, often finishing books within 2 or 3 days. I re-read, highlighted and dog-eared page after page.

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There was one book that I spent the most time with though, my Bible. I realized after my trip across the pond that I hadn’t opened the Book and really read a chapter in it since grade school. I concluded that if I was going to really start reading it again that I should invest in one I loved.

Hello, Barnes and Noble. Hello, new Bible.

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Walks

Camden was definitely happy with this decision!

We spent nearly every day, even in the rain, in Capitol Park. We’d sit and journal, or we’d jog, or we’d just take advantage of how photogenic Camden is against the park backdrop…

This was one of my favorite goals to keep.

Journaling

I wrote down little things every day. Sometimes it was as simple as, “I have nothing to say today.” Other days, I filled pages in my journal. Most of those things are the inspiration for my next couple of articles.

Joy

This one really wraps up into my adventures because what good is an adventure if you don’t share it with those you love?

I spent 45 days of bliss with my family and closest friends. Most of the time I tried to keep it as tech-free as possible, which only made it better.

Adventure #1

I called up a friend that was going to the Windsor Fair and invited myself. I hadn’t been to the fair since I was a kid, and I figured some fresh air, fried dough, and horse pulls were just what the doctor ordered. It was cold, but I got to play with horses and it was awesome.

Adventure #2

There are very few people in this world that I adore more than Mike.

Mike is one of my truest friends. You know the one – the rare one of the ones that you can see a couple of times a year, chat on the phone sporadically, and have it feel like you’ve been hanging out every day since the last time you saw each other.

When Mike told me he accepted a new job and decided to take month off before starting, we both agreed it was time for a random adventure together. We met in Portsmouth. We had lunch. We got lost exploring the downtown area and like a couple of giddy kids, we bought a kite at a game store. After attempting to get our kite in the air, it was evident that the wind in Portsmouth wasn’t strong enough.

Old Orchard Beach has the best wind, so we drove to Maine. Once we got there, we spent an hour on the beach, listening to the waves and talking about what we wanted to do next in our careers as the kites flew high above us. It was the best day.

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Adventure #3

Our family took a trip to Ricker Hill Orchards – mostly because they have the best apple crisp and apple cider donuts in all of the land. My sister came down from Bangor and we spent hours exploring the mini homes, competing in water races, jumping in the cornbox (like a sandbox, but the sand is replaced with corn), climbing the pirate ship, petting the donkey, and of course we finished it off with a sampling of all the ciders.

Adventure #4

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to Brunswick without ever realizing that they have a river walk. I was randomly Googling things to do in my own backyard when I stumbled across an article on the old mills and the swinging bridge.

It was gorgeous.

Also, I discovered snapdragons for the first time. If I’m being honest, I have to say that I’m slightly disappointed in my parents and cousins for never teaching me about these sooner. The excitement of touching it and watching it pop into nothingness…

You have to experience it for yourself to understand how much joy it brings you!

I have a new dream of finding a field of these next year and running through it with them popping and flying around me!

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Adventure #5

Another thing that brings me joy? Watching my parents be grandparents.

Seriously, there is nothing more magical than watching life come full circle and seeing the pride and happiness that grandchildren bring a parent.

I absolutely jumped at the offering to join my Mom and Bill to meet the newest member of the ever-expanding Schoenthaler clan, Mr. Hudson.

Newborn baby cuddles = Christmas

Adventure #6

Leaf peeping in the mountains.

I’ve lived all over, but no one does fall leaves better than New England. However, I have never actually made a day out of leaf peeping. This had to change. I took the scenic route through New Hampshire, stopping in North Conway for brunch at the Stairway Cafe.

Thanks to Groupon, I also found a sweet deal on a Bretton Woods zip lining adventure. Zip lining through foliage is awesome. Taking a chair lift up a ski mountain to get a better view of the foliage is even more awesome.

Adventure #7

Sunsets walks on Popham Beach in October with Camden are kind of our thing.

We’ve been going every year, but this time it was different because I had accepted a new job and it was one of my last weekdays to myself.

Watching Camden live in the moment and run through the waves was inspiring. It was also the day Camden met her first horse, and I honestly think she was really confused about that really big and weird-smelling dog.

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Adventure #8

Starting a new job. Over the course of 45 days, I had 22 job interviews. Accepting most of them would have meant leaving my community. It would have meant more than a new job; it would have meant a new life.

The problem with leaving is that I love the life I have here in my hometown. I love my friends. I love being close to my family. I love my church. I love the sense of community that exists here, and I feel blessed to have a part in it by calling this region my home.

***

The moral of the story is that a lot can change in 45 days.

I went from feeling exhausted and burnt out, to feeling renewed and excited for the next adventure – no matter what that adventure turned out to be. I learned to let go and live in the moment.

I finished 45 days of rest filled with gratitude.

xoxo EJB

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