So, this whole RV adventure has actually been a real struggle for me, and in the words of Rachel Green, “as it turns out, I don’t think I’m handling it all that well.”
First off, what better way to begin a blog about how I want to become less pathetic at adulting than to immediately start off with the truly most pathetic lack of posting for weeks? And, it’s not because we’ve been so terribly busy I just haven’t even thought about it or had time for it, nope: I have 16 unfinished saved drafts in my WordPress posts right now. I have just been second-guessing and self-doubting and hesitating to hit publish on anything, because everything I’ve been writing I’ve been struggling with whether I should share, seeing as I’ve been quite the Danielle-downer lately. Like, I know I should just be honest and speak my truth, but at the same time I don’t want to come across as whiny or as not appreciative of the opportunity to live this #RVlife, because I am so truly thankful for this experience. It’s just that at the same time y’all, this was not where 22-year-old-me thought my life would be at all by the time I was 27.
When I think back to what my expectations or dreams for the future were as we were graduating college and getting married, the only thing I knew I wanted to be as part of my ‘adult career’ was a stay-at-home-mom. And, I was kinda thinking since Reid and I got married so young that we could start having kids young too and be young parents. That probably sounds crazy to a bunch of people (and especially Los Angeles-ians), but it’s the only thing I’ve ever known I truly wanted to be “when I grew up”.
So now, flash forward to 27 years old, 5 years after getting married, and, also in the words of Rachel Green, “Everyone is … getting pregnant, or promoted, and I’m getting coffee. And it’s not even for me!” I’m over here just getting water from a hose at a campground so that I can wash my dishes and have a shower to feel like a semi-functioning human being. It’s been feeling like every day is just too much and I CAN’T EVEN deal, which, I don’t know why I’m surprised, seeing as I was already having a hard enough time with successfully navigating adult life when it was accompanied by all the modern conveniences that seem so far removed from me now.
I’ve been calling it my quarter-life crisis, because I somehow got it in my head that after maybe 3 years of marriage, at 25, was when Reid and I may have our first baby, and once that time came and went, I started to have a little sudden freak out that I may need to find a different life’s purpose to aspire to, because WHAT IF I’ve spent all my effort and time in my 20’s looking forward to motherhood, and what if I get there and then I’m for some reason not totally fulfilled or struggle with motherhood just as much as I struggle with adulting at all, and I don’t spontaneously become this magical laundry fairy once I have kids. Then what?!
But basically, I had been thinking that all these RV mishaps must be “signs” or something and how I was responding to them seemed to be indicative that I was not cut out for RV living. I was saying to myself “OMG THIS ISN’T BRINGING ME CLOSER TO MY LIFE’S PURPOSE so am I just wasting my time trying to fit this mold of a successful full-time RVer when clearly that’s just not going to be me?”
Two weekends ago, when we showed up to a campground after a harrowing drive along windy steep backroads and almost hitting a deer, and the campground has literally zero cell signal for us to check the camp’s website for info, and we get out at the posted bulletin board to see smoke coming out from under the RV and Reid takes a look and says our brakes are red hot and smoking, and then we’re driving around looking for a campsite that has electric but not full hookups and the map isn’t to scale and the curves and twists of the campsites look different on their shoddy map than in front of our car in pitch black darkness only lit by our headlights…. and then, yeah, cue shaky-breathed sobbing freak out.
I may not do more in-depth posts on the issues mentioned below, but just to give y’all a list of a sampling of everything that has been plaguing me since June, here goes:
- My very first time driving the RV, only about 20 minutes into the trip around Texarkana, our passenger side view mirror just randomly began rattling and shaking a bit, then suddenly fell off. Mirror did not get fixed until we were in Buffalo just last week.
- When we were in Mexico, MO, our air conditioning broke. Couldn’t get this fixed until about a month later either.
- Our Bluetooth stereo in the cab keeps losing sound if we go over a big enough bump. We have to hope for another bump of similar size to knock it back into playing sound again.
- We’ve run out of water in our fresh tank while trying to shower parked in a Walmart parking lot.
- Our bathroom vent fan has a broken screen beneath it so it sucks up the screen into the fan’s space when it’s on and makes this super loud obnoxious noise.
- The carbon monoxide detector keeps (seemingly totally randomly) going off, only supposedly it goes off in like 4 different styles signifying different things and Reid and I can’t figure out what this length of beeping means, so now we just look at each other and silence the alarm and shrug and say, “Hope this isn’t the time we die.”
- Our smoke detector goes off literally any time we heat up anything on the stove. I smacked it one time and now it goes off much much quieter, where I can more easily ignore it in greater peace.
- Oh did I mention the LP Gas detector goes off too? Only for that one there’s no silence, and it can be tripped by dog hair, and it’s on the floor. Go figure!
- We didn’t think to check the tire pressure in our tow dolly’s tires, ended up running the tires to pretty much useless, thanked our lucky stars that we didn’t have a blow out before the guy fixing our mirror in Buffalo had a chance to check them out for us, and got new tires for more than we wanted to spend. But, we didn’t have any delays in our schedule! Until…
I Freaked Out Aboot Canada
I was a stubborn, indignant, pouty, bee-yotch about crossing the border into Canada on Sunday. I wanted to just take a week or so and slow down, not have to worry about going into a different country with our entire house so soon into our RV journey where we don’t even have our plan solidified of what we really want to accomplish in each location and get out of this full-time travel experience because we’re too busy traveling and planning for the RV tasks to work on any other passion projects.
I had meltdowns because I was overwhelmed by all these “requirements” that aren’t actually required at all, I was just placing undue pressure on myself because I have a fear of the unknown and when there appears to be too many unknown factors I hold myself back or resist change. Which is exactly why I’m lucky to have Reid in my life: to encourage me to do the things that I may have FOMO about not having gotten to experience later.
In the campground late at night in the dark, I couldn’t get myself to stop crying, and even in the moment I was feeling like, “I don’t like who I’m being right now, why can’t I stop crying? It must be because I’m not meant for RV life!” But then I really started analyzing the next morning, and I realized: who is that self-doubt-y thought helping? No one!
So, I made a resolution that morning to be more positive and try to have a mind of gratitude and openness to experience, and be in control of my own happiness regardless of the circumstances surrounding me. And then, a week later, after Reid had already delayed our timeline of going into Canada a week for my peace of mind, I still had another melt down stressing over crossing into Canada and thinking about everything that could go wrong and how I still felt like we were moving faster than we can keep up with.
Only this Sunday, I channelled all my anxiety about Canada into focusing on just sitting there being pissed off at Reid for making us go into Canada. Which, wasn’t the best use of an emotional toolbelt, but I was also PMSing, so that’s what I decided to do and I stuck with it.
After we made it through border patrol with no incidents and we had an amazing first day with our neighbors to the north, now I’m trying to take Sunday’s experience as proof that I can channel anxious and unproductive thoughts into something more manageable instead of sitting there crying. I just asked Reid what he needed help with and did it and let my brain focus on doing things while acting as bitchy as I pleased, instead of overthinking and not acting on what needs to be accomplished at all.
Now, hopefully I can look at RVing and all its challenges as prep for all the challenges I’ll face in motherhood. RV life will be my training ground and (metaphorical) Tough Mudder course (because I don’t run) for self-development and give me tools to make progress toward personal goals.
I’ll just focus on enjoying the ride and letting more things roll right off my back, because I know many people would love to be doing what we’re getting to do right now, and if I can learn to respond to stress better in a living situation like this then hopefully that stress response will carry over and serve me better in all areas of life too.