how a month of vacation led me to 30-day challenges

How a Month of Vacation Led me to 30-Day Challenges

For the first time ever in my career, I took a month of vacation. I left the office mid-September and returned four weeks later. Sure, I’ve lost a month or more from illness, but I never had a month truly to myself when I was well. My goodness, the time flew by! I spent a weekend with master naturalist friends at the statewide conference in the Shenandoah Mountains, learned how to carve and embellish wood at a week-long class in North Carolina, and visited the family farm to celebrate my mom’s 85th birthday. In between travel, I read a book, Side Hustle, which helped me refocus my blogging efforts. So how do I get from a month of vacation to 30-Day Challenges? Well, let me explain.

A Glimpse into Retirement

What an incredible delight to be able to decide what to do and when to do it…day after day! If I wanted to spend a day in pajamas binge-watching a Netflix series, no problem. If I wanted to go kayaking in the middle of the week, you bet! And grocery shopping at 10:00 in the morning on a week day…gosh, I almost had the place to myself. No rush to get anywhere. WOW! If this is even a little bit like retirement, SIGN ME UP!

I have many retired friends who tell me they are busier now than when they were working. I’m starting to see how that’s possible. But they are busy doing things they WANT to be doing. And that my friends, is the big difference. So as you can tell, I had a pretty great time away from the office.

The Stress of  Work…Even Good Work

I figured I’d be bored after a month and ready to return. WRONG! I was not ready to walk back into the office, and when I did, I felt a bit of despair.

  • How many more years of struggling to find grant money to work on important issues?
  • How many more time sheets to fill out in which I have to account for every minute of my day?
  • How many more days of walking into a building filled with grey, beige, and vanilla tones?

I had COLOR in my life while on vacation, and now I have BEIGE…you know what I mean?

Now mind you, I have a wonderful career. I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from working on issues that are important. I feel like I make a difference in the world. So how could I have such feelings of despair when I was returning to a job that I like? Heck, I even like my colleagues! Quite honestly, I didn’t expect to be feeling like this, and I struggled for the first few weeks. I was in a slump and I needed to find a way out.

Enter 30-Day Challenges

I had toyed around with the idea of 30-Day Challenges in the past. The truth is that I like change and I love challenges. And I had to climb out of my slump. Plus, I figured there were others out there like me who would like to join the challenges. So this last week, I revamped my website and developed a 30-Day Challenges page. And I’m excited again! Juiced to create 30-Day Challenges for you to join, and I can’t wait to turn them into Kindle Guides. First up is the 30-Day Meditation Challenge, scheduled to start on December 1. Now how cool is that!

Not Enough Time in the Day…

With this new effort, I’ve had to make some difficult decisions. The Side Hustle book, which is a good catalyst to bringing in additional income, reminded me to focus on a single project. So for the next 13 months, I’m going to work hard to make my blog, with its 30-Day Challenges and Healthy 7 menus, a success.

Of course, there’s a price to be paid. I have way too many interests and hobbies and I can’t possibly fit them all into my life. Sadly, I’ve decided to put my wood turning/carving aspirations aside for the moment. Like many, I can’t afford to cut my time at the office, and I’m not willing to abandon my wonderful Virginia Master Naturalist chapter, so wood has to go. My hope is that this effort will eventually bring in some income, which will give me more options in the future.

I’d really love your boost with a ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ of my new Facebook 30-Day Challenges page. Here’s hoping your next 30 days will be spectacular!

About the Author Brenda

Dr. Brenda is a financial coach, educator, researcher, and sociologist. In addition to blogging at The Five Journeys, she is the founder of the Gutsy Women Club. Her passion is guiding people on their journey to financial freedom through coaching at DrBrendaMoneyCoach and online courses at

  • I’ll bet you bring color, wherever you go. In my career as executive director of a national trade association, we saw that many veteran execs were facing the kind of slump you described, or outright burnout. To help, we created the Prometheus Retreat (remember what god he was and you’ll see why that name). Three days of soul searching, confidential sharing and resources. Worked wonders and absolutely did have life changing results. Cheering on your challenge!

    • Brenda says:

      Sounds interesting! Unfortunately, the non-profit I work for is not quite so forward-thinking. Thanks for sharing.

  • Julianne says:

    Brenda, your month off sounds like heaven! I just switched offices from a semi-private room with plants and a huge window, to a sea of gray cubicles. I found that adding a lamp and some photos of nature, along with some fresh flowers have really improved my mood. Also, I suffer from too many hobbies too- I’m trying to buckle down and focus on my blog as well. Maybe we can motivate each other 🙂

    • Brenda says:

      Good to have a like-minded reader! Those gray cubes are killers, but glad you brought some nature and light in. Keep on blogging!

  • >