I am a type A person. I like to know what’s going on so I can plan for it and prepare myself. I like to have some say over my days and my routine. On good days, these traits make me organized and on-top-of-things. On bad days, they make me controlling and unable to cope well with change.
For several years, I’ve known this about myself and generally have planned my life in such a way that I can be successful. Usually, that means planning my life in a way that it is more or less predictable. In part, hitting the road was part of a plan to gently push myself towards being okay with the unfamiliar.
Baptism By Fire
I’m not gonna lie, there was a pretty steep learning curve. All of the sudden, I had no routine, no familiar places, no framework for what day-to-day life entails. The “gentle push” felt more like a “hard shove.” That was rough, and took some time to get through. Over time, though, life developed a pattern. A few days of the week, we’d travel or I’d make travel plans. A few days of the week, I’d work. A few days of the week, I’d navigate the unfamiliar to find a laundromat, a grocery store, a hardware store. At least one day, I’d do a long solo adventure, like running or hiking. Taking on the unknown became a part of my day. From the chaos of our first weeks emerged a routine.
Learning to be Flexible
Over time, I learned to expect the unexpected. I let go of rigid ideas about how many yoga studios I should have to choose from in each town, how well-stocked each grocery store should be, and how much time it takes to drive between errands. As we interacted more with one another and less with groups, I learned to place greater value on knowing someone deeply and less value on making everybody happy. I was still rocked when the RV broke down multiple times in a month, but I learned to be grateful for silver linings. I learned to trust that generally, things work out okay in the end.
Seeing What’s Truly Important
We pared our life down to just the basics: our relationship, our home, and nature. There aren’t a lot of distractions. There’s no traffic on the way to work, no neighbor that doesn’t pick up after their dog, no drama. I feel less “yanked around” by what’s going on around me day to day, and I can focus on the here and now. Buddhists call this kind of flexibility “non-attachment.” Accepting things as they are; being present in the moment. I’d love to say I’ve totally mastered this after five and a half months and RVing is the path to enlightenment, but I’d be lying. I’m still working and learning, but I’m making progress. Slow progress, two-steps-forward, one-step-back progress, but progress.
I’m hoping this flexible mindset will stay with me even as we prepare for a stationary winter. Going with the flow is a lot easier.