[jk it’s not the end guys]
It’s March 2020. The United States is in a lockdown that we thought would be 2 weeks. You mean I don’t have to sit in traffic for 2 weeks? Sign me up. I remember asking my fiance (now husband) if he thought it would last until Memorial Day. He scoffed and said, “No way”. Spoiler alert: It lasted past Memorial Day. Jacob and I are fortunate enough that we’re able to work from any location with wifi. We started to think about how great it would be to work from anywhere else. After a few weeks spent at our small, dining room table (aka: our only table), in our 1 bedroom apartment, we longed for a change of scenery. But, with things still locked down, it probably wasn’t going to happen. Plus, we bought a house during the summer of 2020 so leaving wasn’t a very good financial option. However, we did get that change of scenery we wanted, just in a different way. After a year of this pandemic, we started seeing people taking RVs and trailers on the road… If you have a wifi connection and can work from home, why not? That got our brains moving but nothing else. It was just an idea. With the constant “will they, won’t they make us come back to the office” dance that many companies were (and still are) doing, we didn’t pull the trigger. Hell, we didn’t even create a trigger to be pulled. It was an imaginary trigger on an imaginary gun that we looked at longingly from behind an imaginary window. It was a trigger full of “if only’s”. Recently, Jacob’s grandparents bought a 21ft trailer that they said we could use. It seemed like a sign from the Universe. So, we started planning (lol, Jacob started planning because I could not plan beyond “Can we go to Forks?” – WHICH if you know me, is very strange. I am an excellent planner, my brain just has been complete mush – pls see next paragraph) and bought a car that could pull this house on wheels… And here we are.
My relationship with my mental health is pretty rocky. I am an all in type of person when it comes to work. I always have been. From my very first job at Togo’s when I was 15, to now. I work my ass off and then continue working without an ass until my whole body falls apart and I’m left a little broken, surrounded by my loved ones (including almost all of my past and present bosses), saying, “Um, we told you about your missing ass but you didn’t listen”. I never listen. I tell myself it’s just ~passion~ for the job. Any time I’m not working at 100% (or higher), I immediately believe that everyone is disappointed in me and I’m a failure. My parents always instilled in me that if you work hard, you can play hard. I just… kind of forgot about that play hard part (even before the pandemic). With work responsibilities and regular, everyday life responsibilities, I tend to let myself go so far, until I break down crying or screaming or both. When I’m with friends, I give all of myself until there is nothing left. During the pandemic, when we were all forced to slow down, I became more creative and it was wonderful. Now that things are easing up, I’m falling back into my bad habits.
While living with my parents, my mom would frequently leave roses from her garden in my room to remind me to “stop and smell the roses”. What a crazy lady, right? Wrong. The older I’ve gotten, the more I realize that my mom is right (you’re welcome, mom). You need to stop and smell the roses (aka: take time for yourself to make sure that you don’t consistently burn out multiple times a year for many years).
So here I am. In nature. Surrounded by things that will make me create, write, learn, have fun, and grow. I’m here because if I wasn’t, I’d probably continue to burn myself to the bone. But it’s hard. How do you undo and unlearn years of constant burn out? In an age where you’re readily available almost all the time, how do you really actually turn off? I don’t think that this trip will really help me to learn the answers to all this but I’m hoping it can help me to learn just enough answers that I can remember that you don’t have to go, 100%, all the time, to be worthy. It’s easy to say these things but it’s not easy to believe them. It’s a pain point between me and everyone who cares about me (including my breath work coach).
I’m a few days on this trip and I still haven’t been able to really turn off yet. Although, our wifi always tends to get spotty around 7pm at our first site so I guess there’s no working after that (just stressing about it because stress does not need wifi!). I always say, “Maybe next week, I’ll chill out a bit” but next week never comes… but this time, maybe next week I’ll chill out a bit?
Alright, mom. I’ll stop any smell the damn roses for my damn mental health.