Celebrating The Small Moments

2018 has been a tough year, but I am beginning to realize that there is nothing helpful about looking back on the whole year and labeling it as “tough” or “messy”. Every year has something difficult to it. If I look at life year by year, I’ll give every year a negative label. That is a depressing way to view life.

Instead I am shifting my viewpoint to look at time in much smaller increments. Have I taken the time to notice and appreciate a pleasurable day? Some days I need to break it into even smaller increments. Was there an hour or even five minutes of joy or laughter? Every day has some moments of pleasure or meaning that are worthy of appreciation. Today I am noticing. I plan to pay attention to tomorrow as well. I invite you to do the same.

Life is Messy

It’s not over yet, but 2018 is not turning out quite how I expected. It is a good reminder that life is usually a bit messy.

I thought we would love our RV, but instead it has been a huge amount of work and not enough fun. We have come to the realization that we are not at the right time in our lives to have an RV. The work involved will be worth it when we have the time (ie. Retirement) to take long trips with it. So our fifth wheel is for sale and we will pick that dream up again in retirement.

Our big 50K run did not quite materialize either. My husband got injured in June and I did not want to spend my weekends doing long runs without him. The appeal for me had been the fact that this was something we would do together. I have shifted back to shorter weekend runs while my husband is out on his bike. Again, in a different season of life we may pick this back up again. In the meantime, I’m helping my neighbor get started running and enjoying my three to five mile runs on the local trails. My body is feeling really happy with this level of running for the moment.

I am reminded that it is important in life to be open to what your heart, body and mind are telling you along the way and make adjustments. When you are going to run a marathon, one common piece of advice is to have at least three goals. Plan A might be to finish in your best time ever. Plan B might be a more conservative time goal. Plan C is to finish strong. Plan D to finish at all. Plan E to enjoy the experience of being part of something as big as a marathon. This year has been a year of shifting between Plans, and learning to be OK with it.

Inspiring Podcast

I listen to a lot of podcasts during my commute. Yesterday I listened to a really inspiring one and thought I would share it with you. The podcast is The Sonya Looney Show and this specific episode is with Josh LaJaunie. I first read about Josh in Runner's World magazine. He went through a transformation from being extremely overweight to a vegan ultra-marathoner. I am not going to try to summarize it here. Just go listen to it yourself. Well worth it!

Audacious Goals

I am usually careful about not taking on too much at once. By setting limits and saying no to some things, I have confidence I can achieve my goals and not overstretch myself.

For the year 2018, I set out several goals for myself. One is to buy a fifth wheel and start using it for short trips. The goal is to explore the world of RVing and decide if we want to pursue a full-time RV lifestyle in our next stage of life. We have now purchased our truck and fifth wheel (Arctic Fox 27-5L 2014). We are already learning a great deal even though we only managed to buy our fifth wheel, bring it home, then discover problems and take it back to the shop for repairs. We also realized that we need a gravel driveway in our side yard for the fifth wheel, so we (mostly Hubby) spent more time than we have in years out working in our yard. And I can see that the time investment needed in order to start enjoying our RV is not done. We need to outfit the kitchen, etc. More to come in future blogs, I'm sure.

Another big goal and time investment is to get my coaching certification through New Ventures West in San Francisco. This is a year long program, with quite a bit of time and energy involved. I recently completed my first onsite training session in San Francisco. It was a wonderful experience and I came home with new daily practices, reading to complete and homework assignments. This is definitely going to be a learning experience.

I have goals for my day job as well, of course, with one big project ahead of me that will require shifting our organization towards a new way of doing certain things. It will require me to be creative, tenacious and collaborative. I believe it will stretch me in ways I don't even know yet.

And today I agreed to another goal for the year. My husband and I signed up for a 50K trail race in October. It will be my first 50K. Hubby has done several a few years ago, but has been injured and is starting over now from scratch. This week I ran 15 miles in total, with a long run of 4 miles. In September, we need to run at least one 25 mile training before the big race. We have a big ramp up ahead of us!

Some days I feel a little overwhelmed with all of these big goals. It is outside my comfort zone to take on so much at once, but I feel good about all of them and I don't want to give any of them up. I have amazing support from my husband, great support at work, and a new coaching support system that I'm sure will help me through it. I wanted more adventure in my life and I feel like I am on the path to an adventurous year. Let us see how it unfolds.


If change is my friend, why do I feel so anxious?

My husband and I took the next obvious step in our RV adventure and bought a fifth wheel today.  It is exactly what I think we want. We spent a couple of months seriously looking at fifth wheels and picked out this make and model as our first choice. I wanted something used, preferably about 5 years old. This 2014 Arctic Fox 27-5L fits the bill perfectly. The price was a little more than I hoped to pay, but we went through a local dealer in California and all of the internet reading I did indicated that we would pay a higher price in these conditions.

So why I am awake in the middle of the night feeling anxious about this purchase? I am not having worrying thoughts. I just have an anxious feeling in my gut. My only explanation is simply that I am nervous about the change we are bringing upon ourselves. We have to learn how to drive this thing, back it into campsites, and take care of all the maintenance items that I'm totally unfamiliar with. This is the first time in my life where a big change that I chose myself is making me anxious. 

My parents bought a ski boat and a travel trailer in their mid-40's for our family, but my mother usually took us camping on her own. My dad loved those weeks at home by himself when he could take care of projects around the house, like re-tiling the shower. Mon was passionate about being outdoors, and since she had nine children to take care of, she had to bring us along. She jumped in head first and learned how to drive the boat safely, pull the trailer, and deal will all the unfamiliar systems in the trailer. I am now gaining some appreciation for how impressive she was, acting with confidence in the face of change.

Our vacations with the travel trailer were all excellent. We visited most of the National Parks in the Western United States with that trailer. I never experienced tent camping as a child, but I certainly appreciated a solid roof over our heads when it rained across most of Oregon and Washington. Those childhood memories is what set me on the path to buying my own rig now. I want the experience of being in wonderful places, but still have the comfort of the trailer to protect us from rain, snow, wind, and mosquitoes.

I will use my mother as my role model now. I may have to fake it at first, but I am determined to act with confidence in the face of this change.


The Truck Afterstory

Just a short post to let you know that we were successful in moving the truck off the driveway. It was actually not that bad to get it turned around. And I drove it to work one day this week to start to get comfortable with such a big vehicle. It went quite smoothly and I felt good about it. Anxiety put to rest.

That New Truck Feeling

My husband and I purchased a new truck yesterday, as the first big step towards my dream of living full time in an RV, traveling the country and enjoying all of the beautiful nature in North America. I should be feeling excited, but my gut is anxious instead. The anxiety started after we got the truck home. I pulled into our driveway and then promptly got it situated at a weird angle so that we can’t get it back out of the gate at the top of the driveway. I got out of the truck and looked at it on our driveway and it looked huge. I felt overwhelmed with this monstrosity of a truck that we now own (partially).

Logically I know that I am perfectly capable of learning to drive this thing, and it is exactly what we want to pull our future fifth wheel. Emotionally it is way outside my comfort zone. It is similar to the feeling of being out of control that I had just before I crashed my bike on a downhill curve a few years ago. Before I went to sleep last night I tried doing some breathing exercises to release the tension. My mind was relaxed and not swirling full of negative thoughts, yet I struggled to let go. Eventually the anxiety subsided and I went to sleep. I woke up briefly during the night with a gut full of anxiety again, but thankfully I went back to sleep fairly quickly. And this morning it is here again, like an unwelcome visitor.

I had a small inkling of anxiety in the last couple of months as we started our serious shopping for a truck/RV, just feeling overwhelmed by everything we need to learn. But I did not expect this gut anxiety on day 1 with just the new truck. It truly came as a surprise. I was expecting more nervousness as we initially drive with the fifth wheel and have to negotiate traffic, back into a campsite, and drive down a winding road.

This truck is the big boy of trucks, with a crew cab and long bed, and dual tires on the back. Because of the long distance between axles, it’s turning radius is much wider than anything I have ever driven before. With my ignorance in full play, I drove it through our tight gate opening into our driveway, then expected to be able to turn it around in a turnabout area, so that it could be driven forward out the gate. Tonight we will tackle rescuing the truck from its current plight, probably with the help of a couple of neighbors. Hopefully we won’t have to call a tow truck to help.

I feel more relaxed now that I have written out my thoughts and feelings here.