Sometimes life is like being on a hamster wheel. You may be racing as hard as you can but the world around you isn’t moving. You’re giving it everything you’ve got and you’re getting nowhere. The only way to stop it is to jump off the damn wheel and let the consequences sort themselves out. But once your head stops spinning, what’s next?
Blow it up
Sometimes you’ve simply got to blow up the hamster wheel so you can’t get back on the same path to nowhere. We humans have a tendency to keep trying the same things that aren’t working, don’t we? So it might be tempting to jump back into that place after you’ve had a breather because, oddly enough, it’s comfortable. But simply because it’s familiar, not because it’s a good place to be. And you rationalize to yourself that you can handle it now—maybe make some small adjustments and all will be fine. You’ll do better next time, right?
But instead of giving yourself a misguided personal pep-talk, you’ve got to put down those sparkly mental pom-poms and get real. Fixing big problems isn’t a neat and tidy process. And they usually can’t be dealt with gently if you want real change.
So sometimes you just have to blow things up and start over. What counterintuitively seems like a step backwards is actually just destroying the framework that’s holding you to a structure that isn’t working. I’m not saying it isn’t difficult or painful, just sometimes necessary.
To be perfectly clear, I’m talking about big problems. Real Problems. Not the minutia and smaller details that we preoccupy ourselves with in order to ignore the bigger issues. And that’s part of the getting real bit. You’ve got to sort which is which and give yourself honest space to do that.
Blow it up. Start over.
Clearing the rubble
While the decision to abandon the full-time RV life and settle down was deliberate and the obvious path forward, the process involved tough intermediate decisions. The solution to our shituation wasn’t a simple as go back home and park the trailer. There was no home. There wasn’t even a place.
As much as we love northern Nevada, we knew it was no longer viable for us. So part of the get-off-the-wheel scenario was selling the property. It might have been tempting to try force it to work but with honest introspection, we had to acknowledge it was a dead project. We had to get real about what we were personally willing to take on at this point in our lives. We also needed time to accept the sad reality that the landscape for what we started several years earlier had irreversibly shifted in ways we had no control over in terms of costs, politics, and a population surge.
The decision to take on a substantial house renovation/remodel was another step that took some serious introspection. In the end, we determined that this path allows us to rebuild our framework largely on our terms, without the agony of starting from scratch to build a home. The renovation is going to take years and we’ve settled into being ok with that. It will be slow progress but it is finally forward progress again. And in the meantime we have a stable, relatively comfortable place to live and build the community we want.
So that’s where we find ourselves now. This is the reconstruction phase after scrapping our former plans and giving ourselves the freedom to start over on a new path, leaving the hamster wheel a smoldering pile of debris in the rearview mirror. (I may be giving it some mental middle fingers as well.)
We’ve owned the house for seven months now. There isn’t much visible progress yet. We’ve largely been making decisions and placing orders knowing the supply chain backlog is long. It is measurable progress, though, unlike our time on the road. These are steps forward rather than energy wasted.
Now that we are firmly into 2022 and the “new” has begun to wear off of the new year, it’s time to settle into the business of understanding our new work-life-renovation flow and embrace the rhythm of the days that fill the calendar in our new life. It’s a long play but we’ll revel in transforming this ugly duckling house into a lovely (albeit small) swan, one little victory at a time.
I think of it as reconstructing our lives as we renovate this house. So I’ve finally added a category to cover the house process since it’s going to be a big part of our lives for several years and doesn’t really fit into existing themes.
Thanks for joining the renovation party. It’s going to be a wild ride—triumphs, failures, mistakes, surprises, etc. And you know I’ll be real about all of it.
Adventure on, friends! And stay off that hamster wheel.
PS – I tend to stay more up-to-date on the house goings-on in the newsletter so pop over and sign up for content that never sees the digital light of day here. Plus, I always include pretty pictures for you to download as wallpapers and screen savers.