Major Life Changes
During the three and a half months Stephen and I were on the road in Canada enjoying full-time RV living; I relished every day. I felt a sense of floating through life. I enjoyed heightened awareness of what was in front of me, fully immersed in the moment.
Then, abruptly, I would get a phone call that brought me back down to earth to handle a situation related to our property in New Mexico.
Even though our rental property produces a significant amount of our income, it just doesn’t serve our larger goal of living free of the stressors that come with home ownership. You know what I mean… maintenance.
It’s funny because I don’t resent the maintenance of the motorhome at all. Sure. problems come up that need solutions. But, my coach is the vehicle (literally and figuratively) that provides me with a rich meaningful life.
We’ve been talking a lot about selling our furnished rental property. The longer we travel on the road, enjoying the feeling of being untethered to a place, the more we crave freedom from these ties that bind. The first step to selling, of course, is emptying your house. It would be a lot easier just to sell everything and have neither art studio space nor some storage.
Our home and casita have been vacation rentals for over three years now, but we have outbuildings and a giant art studio that we utilize when we need to be back in that location. After much deliberation, we have come to accept the necessity of both a studio and a small amount of storage.
Storage space, it became clear, was a must for Stephen who is more of a saver than I am. He’s been consistently purging since we started RVing, but now it’s time to get serious. I wrote an earlier post all about letting go. You can read more here.
Theoretically, I considered myself emotionally prepared to sell our home of 25 years that we created as a place of comfort and beauty. Boy, was I in for a surprise! You don’t know how you are going to feel until you have dived in and are experiencing change. So now I’m going to get up close and personal about this journey out of our comfort zone.
I researched SKP parks that are an inexpensive way to provide for both studio space, storage, and full hook-ups! We are currently at an SKP park in Southern New Mexico and put down earnest money on a lot to lease today. Here’s a pictures of the lot we decided on.
We had only three days to contemplate taking this step. I found myself in an internal wrestling match. Did this mean I shouldn’t act? My mind was swinging like a pendulum between the pros and cons.
It occurred to me in the middle of the night that I might not be the only person troubled by decision making. My usual approach to difficulties is research. I found some online wisdom, which couldn’t have come at a better time. Plus, I needed a new subject for my next blog post, and here it was, right in front of me!
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” –Andre Gide
I looked up the meaning of approach/avoidance conflict, and I think it’s worth giving you a synopsis of this documented phenomenon. I took this excerpt from the web page. Go here to read more.
What Is Approach-Avoidance Conflict?
It occurs when an individual faces a decision to pursue or avoid something that has advantages and disadvantages. This form of conflict involves only one goal. The name comes from the advantages of the goal making the person want to approach the goal and the disadvantages making him or her want to avoid it.
This type of conflict is known to cause stress. People go back and forth trying to make a decision. They are trying to find their equilibrium point where they are about to accept both the advantages and disadvantages, no matter the final decision. As the person nears the goal, they feel a pull from the disadvantage side. This leads the person to avoid the goal. As the person starts to pull away, they feel the pull from the advantage side to approach the goal. The person eventually reaches their equilibrium point.
The attractiveness or repulsiveness of a goal increases as one gets closer to it!
I was very much comforted when I read equilibrium will unfold if I just follow the process that is going on inside of me. After three days of anguish and thinking I would lose my mind, I wished I had thought to research what I was going through even sooner. I needed to resolve the ping-pong nature of my thoughts.
Here is the thing I’ve discovered from “following my bliss” in this instance. It’s easy for me to dismiss measured decision making. Left to my own devices, I just plow ahead when I have a goal. I don’t take time for the process to unfold.
Stephen and I are very different in our approaches to living. Yet, I don’t think we’ve ever faced any major life change with so much openness and honesty. During these few days, we’ve both spoken openly about our fears, hopes, concerns, and anxieties. Pretty much every emotion you can think of came up during this decision making. We each allowed the other to express our feelings mostly without judgment or starting an argument.
That’s a lot of emotion to pack into three days, and it was challenging. No wonder that process is one I’ve often avoided in the past!
Now, we’ve put down earnest money and committed to this life change. We aren’t 100% sure this is the right thing we’ve done. But, discussing all sides has given us a full spectrum view of the possible repercussions. Therefore, we’ll be as ready to face challenges as possible. Mostly, we think this was our best move to get closer to our goal of maximum freedom.
I guess we’ve reached equilibrium! Wish us luck!
NEWS ALERT! My daughter just expressed some interest in buying our property. Now we are going through the approach/avoidance process all over again! Moving forward is never a straight line.
What processes do you use to help you through major life changes? I’d love to her them.