This post originally appeared on The Reckless Choice
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. Here’s how full-time RV-ing has helped me learn to be flexible…
Baptism by fire
I’m not gonna lie, there was a pretty steep learning curve. All of a 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 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.
Anyone else struggle with being flexible?