“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul”
― John Muir
We went to Maine to find our souls again. For the past two years, this life has been filled with incomparable joys, destressing pains, and countless shifts and changes for us and the world collectively. We needed time away from reality and responsibility. I had no idea how close I was to the end of my rope until we left. The first morning out, we worried we weren’t going to get away. Katie started receiving texts from work. I started getting phone calls from school and doctor offices. We sat at Starbucks trying to navigate what getting away could be when you don’t get to stop being a parent. We made a conscious choice to reply kindly, politely, but firmly, that we were away and someone else could fix it, or it could wait. We had to unwind. We had to clear our minds. We needed time to focus on each other, nature, ourselves. We put the phones down and took off on our adventure.
It wasn’t easy, and it was easy all at once. I’m finding my world full of gray more and more. What made it easy, knowing how badly I needed to reset and refocus. If we couldn’t lean into refocusing, we weren’t going to make it back home any better than how we left.
I’ve spent a lot of years not prioritizing myself. I’ve spent a lot of time talking myself out of doing things I would enjoy. I think I told myself to wait. The problem was, I didn’t know what I was waiting for or when the waiting would end. Ultimately what the waiting was for was a mystery in itself. If I’m honest, I knew I wasn’t waiting; I knew certain things would never happen.
In 2019, before the world imploded with Covid and before my world shifted and changed, I sat in my counselor’s office. We talked in-depth about this feeling of running I had and how it wouldn’t go away. How I would fantasize about leaving my life, how going to Starbucks to write was an escape, how I couldn’t stop these thoughts of wanting to run.
“I just want to run away to the woods.”
“Or to Maine?” she grinned. I had on my Maine hoodie.
The thing about this trip, it didn’t feel like running away, not at all. It felt like coming into me. Coming back to the most important relationship in my life. Recentering. Refocusing. Rejuvenating.
Going to Maine ended up being less about running away from my life and my problems and more about taking it with me to process and reassess.
I needed a safe space to retreat to while carrying my burdens in my clenched fists. Only then was I able to unclench them, hold them, examine them, and determine what to do with it all. What did it all mean? What should stay, and what should go? What were dreams too far and goals so close we can almost touch them? I didn’t have the space to do that in my home with all the demands and responsibilities of the day.
We needed a respite. We needed Maine.
We arrived at Acadia National Park, got our parking pass, looked at several maps, and decided to drive the loop first. We were in the car for maybe a few minutes before we came to the first small pull-off.
“Should I stop?”
“Yep. We’re gonna stop at all of them.”
We parked the car and got out. A large boulder sat away from the overlook in the grassy area. The railing by the lookout was filled with other adventurers. I immediately climbed on top of the boulder to take in the view. As I looked out across the mountains and ocean, I could feel the calm settle in me. I knew, without a doubt, it, life, the trials, and struggles, they were all going to be alright. Why? Why not? The world lay far too vast in front of me for things to not shift, change, carry on. I am tiny in the universe, and it keeps on moving. I have to keep on moving as well.
I stood on top of that boulder seeking, and in my seeking, I found a piece of inner peace.