Hello everybody, welcome to episode 212 of Optimal Living Advice, the podcast where we take any questions you might have about the many struggles of life and get them answered for you here on the show. Today's question is from a solo female camper.
I’m your host, certified life coach Greg Audino reminding you before we begin that if you have a question you would like help with on the show, we welcome you to email it to us at advice AT oldpodcast.com
Now anyone who listens to this show with any type of regularity knows that a lot of questions come in about big changes. For our asker today and you listeners, there are too many of them for me to list, so scroll through the past 211 episodes yourself and have a ball. What we have today is a question that’s coming after a big change by our asker; a question that seems to beg for a more reflective piece on the truth about big changes and their implications, rather than how to initiate one which is what we’re more accustomed to. A different vibe today, I think. Let’s get into it and see. Here’s the question…
QUESTION: “After working 16 years in my current position and living in California for 40 years, I felt compelled to put in my notice of resignation with my employer (mind you I make a very comfortable living), give away all my possessions, trade in my Benz for a used truck and get a camper trailer and travel to Texas by myself – a single female. Now I understand that might be a thing that people do, but it’s really the complete opposite of who I used to be. So the problem is I almost think my body has been hi jacked by someone else. I would love to know if anyone else is making huge changes, especially through the pandemic, and get insight about what to expect, how to handle them, or what they’re about.“
Reflecting on Big Changes
Ok, I’m into this one! A nice opportunity to reflect on big changes. Again, usually these questions come in before the change is made and they’re of course about whether or not it’s a good change or how to do it. Seems you’ve dived right in, though, and here you are! Congratulations!
I like that you said it’s a thing that people do, but the opposite of who you used to be. You’re right. It IS a thing that people do. And you know what? Most of those people survive, and all of them end up learning a lot.
What’s new territory for you certainly isn’t new for many others, and the road ahead of you has been taken successfully time and again. This will be important to keep in mind if your main concern is feeling shaky or uncertain about this sudden shift in your behavior. This is a totally fair concern, as a decision like this will not only change your lifestyle, but perhaps more dramatically, your perception of yourself and your identity.
Is Your Past Your Foundation?
You may wonder, who am I without my past? Do I have any foundation anymore? How do I know if this new me will even be a good fit, work, or know how to survive?
Will my values or relationships be put into question? Will the knowledge I’ve accumulated so far be rendered useless? Can I ever go back, geographically, mentally, spiritually?
Fear not. These questions are normal, and the answers to them aren’t as frightening as you may conjure them up to be. It’s tough to see yourself completely anew; I’d imagine especially so the older you are, but everyone’s different. What I recommend is figuring out what “different” means for you.
Rather than ruminating and putting too much of your energy towards the questions I rattled off and other similar ones that you may stumble upon, I recommend trying to shift it towards the real reason that you’ve decided to make this change. You describe this is as though it’s some type of otherworldly force of nature that the you you’re familiar with has no control of. But you do have control and you know what’s underneath, even if you haven’t disclosed it to me or haven’t even gotten to the bottom of it yourself.
Investigate this stuff, and do so playfully. Are you running from something – a person, a history, or maybe an idea of yourself? Or are you simply curious to shake things up?
Finding Peace and Understanding
This will be important information to know, because if you’re consciously or subconsciously trying to avoid some type of inner turmoil, moving to a new place and adopting a new lifestyle is rarely the solution.
Can a new environment help you dodge negative temptations and develop better habits? Sure, and that’s great. But deeper pain doesn’t hinge on where you are so much as it does the self-work you do, and whether or not you’re able to do things day to day that make you happy in addition to feeling confident in the trajectory your life is taking.
Even if you just don’t like the idea of being too stagnant and are enlivened by the idea of trying something new, I’d argue that you still should seek to find peace and understanding with the reasons why you did that for so long, rather than shaming yourself for not “getting out sooner.”
As I said, you’re bound to learn a lot by doing this. No one makes such a drastic change without some reason for doing so, and getting in touch with that reason will help ground you in this new life you make for yourself, as you can understand why you wanted to make it.
It sounds heavy, it sounds like a lot. But again, the answers aren’t all that frightening. This doesn’t have to be a life sentence, you still know who you were, and you may end up feeling confident to return to your past life after having something to compare it to. Who knows?
Solo Female Camper: Conclusion
After all, this whole thing as a solo female camper is an adventure isn’t it? If you’re able to do what many of us aren’t, that is to step out of the illusion that your problems are more severe than they really are, you’ll see that in the big picture, you’re just living your life, trying something new, adventuring, experimenting with a new part of yourself.
Each of life’s facets are layered. It’d be unnatural to go a whole lifetime without exploring something new, and the consequences really aren’t so dire. Have fun, learn a little, and enjoy being a passenger on the ride of life. For you and the lot of us who listen to these podcasts, we’re generally very fortunate people, lucky enough to always have other roads that can be taken.
To the woman who sent this in, thanks so much for doing so and God speed. I really appreciate you reaching out to me, as I feel as though this episode has given us all a nice opportunity to breathe and look at life with some broad strokes as opposed to tackling a certain problem, which has been a fun change of pace for an episode.
Wishing you the best of luck, and encouraging everyone out there to not be afraid of change, and maybe just as importantly, to not overestimate it or see it as something that disrupts life. Rather, it’s the very spice of life. All things are in motion all the time, and this is something that should be embraced as much as possible.
I’m gonna get out of here now, folks. Feeling uplifted waltzing into the weekend and hoping the same for you. Enjoy yourselves, have fun, try something new, and I’ll be back with you again on Monday for another OLA. See you all there.