Updated: Dec 9, 2020
Have you noticed how sometimes things get really challenging when we're in the midst of (or even contemplating) a change? Or more accurately - how it can seem like everything is falling apart, leaving you questioning yourself and the decision(s) you've made.
See that picture of my husband and I, smiling on our kayak? That was a beautiful day. A peaceful day. A day where we felt as if everything was right in the world. It was also precisely 14 days after I went into full blown panic mode and started catstrophizing. I love this word, "Catastrophizing". I thought I had made it up, but figured before making that claim I should Google it. Turns out I am not the first to use this word. Here is the Merriam-Webster definition of "Catastrophize" : to imagine the worst possible outcome of an action or event : to think about a situation or event as being a catastrophe or having a potentially catastrophic outcome.
You may be wondering, at this point, what I was catastrophizing about. On that day, November 22, 2020, my husband and I practiced hitching up our 42 foot RV (a 5th wheel travel trailer and also our home) to our Ford-F350 truck and driving it around my brother's ten acres. We set up cones which we backed in and out of, and were super proud of ourselves. We had been living in our RV on my brother's property since July 24th, after the abrupt sale of our home, and were making preparations to move on down the road to location number two! Everything went great! Hitching, driving, and unloading all went smoothly, and we were feeling confident. About an hour after we were finished and had been inside, I realized the Wifi wasn't working. Trouble shooting the Wifi led to us discovering no outlets worked, or the microwave, or A/C. An RV has a couple different electrical operating systems, and a battery. We realized everything that runs off battery (12v electric) and propane was working - but there was no main power coming through. I should mention here that we were a bit tired and hangry. The next few hours were spent with my husband and brother trying their darndest to figure out what the issue was and me searching RV forums and calling around (to no avail on a Sunday evening) for help.
There was no hope getting power that night. We could still shower and cook, but had no heat (of course it was cold that night), our refrigerator was not working (all the food went in a cooler), and because we were in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere, we had no cell reception or internet. We got to experience what boondocking will be like (boondocking: the opportunity to camp off-the-grid, far from the services and amenities that can be found at RV parks or developed campgrounds.). Later, I appreciated the experience, but first, I had a meltdown! Suddenly I saw a future where we end up stranded on the side of a mountain somewhere, with no power (at all because the battery had been completely depleted), no cell service to call for help, freezing and starving to death. Having no internet or phone meant I wouldn't be able to work online which meant I was completely finished and there was no possible we could make it or be OK! What is wrong with us - how could we possibly think traveling around, living in an RV would be a good idea?!
WHEW!!! Deep breaths, Lisa, deep breaths! Of course, none of those thoughts were based in reality or logic. That didn't matter, these voices in my head (and body) were STRONG! I could barely hear the weaker voice inside, the one trying to remind me we had made certain preparations in case of a rainy day. I was in full fledged fear! I went to bed early that night, knowing things would look differently in the morning.
There was nothing wrong with our RV. We learned a little lesson about electricity and RV's. The repair man who helped, Jeremy at All Mobile RV Service, was incredibly kind and compassionate. He came out and within a minute our power was on. He didn't even charge us! He explained about 'loads' and 'amps', and the short story is we need to turn our breaker off when shutting down to travel, and back on after we're plugged in. The reason we were practicing before leaving my brother's property was for this very reason, so we could work out kinks before going to an unknown destination - this was just a kink I didn't see coming! In our mind, we try (I least I do this) to consider all the things which may go wrong so we know how to respond in a given situation. This situation reminded me that in reality, we cannot account for all things. Especially venturing into the unknown, there's no possible way to know what may happen!
Fear of the unknown unfortunately keeps too many people from trying new things. Just as unfortunate is when we walk away from something right before a potential big breakthrough. Have you ever been on the brink of doing something, and because a challenge felt too big or scary you walked away? I could have made the decision to stay on my brother's property longer, until I felt more "ready", or I could have decided to buy a piece of land to park on and stay put. But I didn't.
December 1st we traveled to Tarpon Springs, Florida. We successfully hitched, drove, and backed into our campsite. We turned the power back on and everything worked. We experienced the surreality and freedom of being mobile! Settling in, we found a freedom and joy I cannot explain. My husband said this, on the day of that kayak trip - "When you're life feels like a vacation, you know you're doing something right!".
I don't expect every day to feel like a vacation, I know there will be challenges and fear. I also know I will face these and keep moving forward. Every time we face a fear we grow, we learn, we become more resilient.