Tag Archives: The Journey

Choose Your Adventure: Life

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Have you ever played a Choose Your Own Adventure type game? It’s usually a book that everyone starts reading at the same spot, and along the way you’re given a series of choices that lead you down different paths. The choices you make determine the outcome of your story. You could read the same book over and over and come up with a different ending each time.

Sound familiar? I thought it did.

Life, in its essence, is the ultimate choose your own adventure game. We all basically start the same, give or take some environmental and physical differences. Along the way we’re given choices, dozens of them a day sometimes. And the way we respond to those choices determine the outcome of our story.

You might make the choice to drop out of school or finish and go to college, you might decide to get married and have children or focus on your career, you might choose to rob a bank or work in a factory for twenty years. Nothing (aside from those pesky cops) makes any of those choices any more right or wrong than the others. But they all change the outcome of your story.

Sometimes the choices are smaller than that. Choosing to eat a salad or a candy bar, choosing to save money or buy something. But no matter how seemingly insignificant they are every choice changes your path a little.

The key is to make sure the choices you make every day are leading you to the outcome you want. If your dream is to become a doctor and you choose to work in a factory you may have misunderstood the rules of the game.

You won’t get it right all the time, and there will be detours along the way, but you have a much better shot if you know where you want your path to lead. If you know where you’re going and aim to make your choices line up most of the time you’ll get there. The saying “Begin with the end in mind” applies more than ever to this game.

You have to know where you’re going to know how to get there. So where do you want your path to lead? What type of person do you want to be? Don’t just pick at random, really think about the life you want to live.

If you want to be seen as brave and adventurous you may have to choose not to be afraid when the time comes.

If you want to be someone people see as educated and worldly you may have to choose to read a book instead of watching reality TV.

If you want to be a fitness expert you have to choose to practice what you preach.

If you want to own a business, start a blog, or travel the world you have to make the intentional choices that lead to those paths.

The really fun thing about this game is you are in complete control. Even if you round the corner and find a dragon waiting on the other side, you get to choose how to handle it.

Think about how you want to be known, pick your story, and then make sure your choices line up with it. The time is going to pass anyway, so why not make the most of it?

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Don’t Forget To Enjoy The Trip

This lifestyle change we started on a few short months ago feels so normal now. It’s funny how that happens.

I’ve never lived in a campground in my life, in fact I’ve lived in the woods most of my life, with no neighbors within screaming distance. I had only even stayed in a campground a handful of times before we embarked on this journey.

And yet now, one month and one week into living in a campground for the first time, it’s the most normal thing in the world.

When I come home from work, I pull into an RV park, drive around to the back, and pull up behind a fifth wheel. I pass dozens of other campers, people out walking their dogs, kids playing on the playground, retirees strolling around.

I no longer have a dishwasher, my front porch is retractable, and my neighbors are ever changing.

I’ve reduced my clothing down to 33 items, I take daily walks, I’m training for a 5k for the first time ever, and the cat lives inside now.

So much has changed… nearly everything if you think about it, except for Marty and I.

But it feels like we’ve always been here, when I think about how things were before it seems like a really far away time. When I imagine having 1500 square feet and five acres to my name I wonder what in the devil I did with all of it.

And the stuff, the storage building full of stuff waiting on the yard sale, the piles of stuff we threw away or sold… what did we do with all that stuff?? I can’t name half of it now, and I didn’t feel like we had that much at the time even.

Now I have 350 square feet and a rectangular patch of grass, and it feels more right than you can imagine. I have everything I need in that tin can. And as an added bonus, most of it is within arms reach.

* I’ve been informed that it’s not tin, it’s fiberglass, but that doesn’t have the same ring, so we’re sticking with tin.

But the end game was never just to move into our camper. This is a lifestyle change, and this is just the first of many phases. This is the beginning of living deliberately, deciding our own path and taking it. There are other areas to deal with now, other changes to be made. It’s time to start Phase 2 of this journey and get one baby step closer to fully living the life we want to live…

We’re about to shed even more things. We’ll be getting rid of a car that’s just more than we need this weekend. It’s a great car… sunroof, a five disc CD changer, a back up camera for goodness sake. That’s right, I don’t even have to turn around to back up. And oh have I grown attached to those heated seats. But in the end, it’s just a car. I don’t need it, and it flies in the face of the simple lifestyle I want. Right now, when I look at it all I see is money. Money that equals freedom to me. Soon, it will be money in our savings account, and I’ll find myself a much more reasonable car for the 10 miles a day I need to drive.

Then there’s the MASSIVELY huge yard sale next weekend, and I do mean massively huge, not like those yard sales that say they’re huge and then you show up all excited only to find seven old shoes and a stinky leather purse spread out on a blanket covered in dog hair and mashed carrot stains. You know you’ve been there.

This yard sale will be one for the record books, it’s a multifamily sale, and the other family is also in the midst of a big life change.

In case you didn’t know, life changes make for damn good yard sales.

There’s also career changes on the horizon, I’m not sure how those will play out yet, but I do know they’re coming.

Oh, and hopefully a really-cool-slightly-crazy trip coming up. It might be cross country. I can’t say for sure.

One thing at a time, we’re setting em up and knocking em down. Some days that seems so much easier than others, but we’ve come so far in just a few months. I think sometimes I expect big things to happen every day. I forget to look at where we’ve come from, and we’re we are, and instead I obsess over where I want to be.

That’s not how deliberate change works, I can tell you from experience it’s not a get rich quick scheme or an overnight success story. You take one thing at a time, decide how it needs to change, and then break that down into manageable steps. You chip away at it, day by day, until all of a sudden it’s changed. It’s not instant, and it’s not easy, but you eventually look up and realize how far you’ve wandered down the path.

At first it’s hard, you feel like you’ll never get anywhere, you’ll get frustrated and wonder why you’re even trying so hard. You might cry a little and drink more flavored coffee than you should. Just sayin’.

Then one day you realize that you’re so much farther along then you were a month ago, and that those little things you’ve been doing every day, consistently, are actually working. Note: This realization might require that your very patient husband point it out to you several times, but it still counts.

Suddenly you’re able to run longer then you could a week ago, your able to write a thousand words more easily than last time, you make your first sale, and things start looking up.

That’s not every day, and the next day might not be as good, but you have to keep remembering the progress. It’s all about the journey, you won’t get anywhere without it.

Disclaimer: This post was partly written for myself, on one of my better days, to remind myself where we were a few months ago, and how far we’ve come. I hope maybe it helps you too.