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Moving Day and Digital Detox (again)...

It is moving our RV Day. We had a month reserved at a resort on the beach and instead decided, in part to save money, and in part to be close to the garden. We have some big changes coming and we will be restructuring at work. In the mad rush of our work life, we needed an anchor, a little piece of home, our garden, to feel less adrift.

We will be traveling for the month of November (if all goes well settling things at work), hopefully going through some hot springs in the cool autumn weather and seeing some of the Ozarks as we wend our way to Texas for Thanksgiving. Being on the road and really getting out to see the sights and take the hikes is a fun way to live.

RV life is really fun when you are moving around quite a bit. On the other hand, being stationary, for me, has been overly challenging. Miranda Lambert has a song out right now Settling Up/Settling Down, where she is asking herself which life she prefers, the “wild child” wanderer, or the “homing Pidgeon”, setting down roots… I can identify wholeheartedly. I still don’t have the answer. Both have equal appeal at times.

I have built our garden back from nothing over the last two months back at home. It was flourishing when we left for three months the last time, and it has taken me these two, to get it back to life. Fighting weeds in Florida in the summer is a jungle of a task. In the grand scheme, two months is not that long to already be harvesting cucumbers and green beans again. But sometimes in a garden it feels as if time slows down when you try to watch your seedlings sprout into their full glory, then all of a sudden there is harvest all over and you don’t know what to do with half of it.

Honestly, being in the garden is one of the only things I am really enjoying these days. I know that sounds a little negative, and I am starting to realize that is the problem. My thoughts tend toward the negative. I like to get immersed in a problem, but often not the right kind of problem. A garden problem, or a time management problem should be delved into and figured out. But there are other kinds, the kinds of irritability and discontentedness. Resentment and anger, sometimes these problems do not require immersion, or sometimes immersion into them only begets more problems. At least when I am alone. Immersion into resentment and anger while in therapy is a different ballgame and is highly recommended.

But doesn’t it just feel like too much too sometimes? I want to be better. I don’t want to have to spend a small fortune working through my trauma or my childhood stuff. Doesn’t it seem like there should be better ways to let go? I think there are good ways. I think meditation, an accepting community, and other forms of self-care can wick away the negativity. I just wonder how do I get out the roots? I can chop the bushes of negativity down to the ground, but they seem to come back year after year. Mostly the grief with my mother, and the pain I am in from her excluding me from her life, and in turn, the anger and rage I feel at times toward a mother who would abandon her child (me). The lack of focused time to myself to create a bigger, more productive garden, website, and learn new skills. I get stuck in the loop of ‘my life sucks,’ and it really doesn’t, but it keeps coming back. It slowly grows and takes over my mind.

I know perhaps, I am in a season, and that seasons eventually change. The mountain lion lunging and stalking in my chest for the next big adventure, trying to claw its way to happiness if only it had xyz can be exhausting and tedious. Its never-ending pacing for ‘the good life’ or ‘the right way to live,’ is desperate and unsatisfied. I am trying to be gentle with this Tiger. I have to remind her that it is not just “my life” anymore. I have a family. I have others to think about. My endless droning about wanting to move to Hawaii while our business is unsettled is not helping my husband to feel easy or capable. He’s got a million things on his mind and moving is just another stress in his already stressful work world.

Right now, the lion within is telling me, if I can’t go to Hawaii right now because of the restructuring, housing prices, and lack of inventory, then I’ll just build my homestead here for a while. But the housing prices and inventory are as much a problem in Florida as they are in Hawaii. And when we are on the road, if we are not diligent to get out and see a new destination, RV life can feel empty. RV parks in my opinion are wonderful but are geared generally for those who want to relax, go to the pool, watch TV (potentially outside), and grill things. Many offer more activities, but if those activities aren’t things you like to do, well then, it still feels lackluster.

When you live in a place, you know all the little places. You know all of the best food, the best places for the kids to meet other kids. The best grocery store for your needs etc. On the road, it can be difficult to find the kind of rhythm you find at home.

Though we have met a lot of wonderful people on the road, there is no lasting community feeling. You love each other and even get a little attached, and then you or they, are off to the next place. I have been systematically eliminating social media from my life (still have YouTube), so it is hard to stay in contact with our travel acquaintances.

We are now doing another digital detox. Just giving ourselves some time to focus on what is important and what we enjoy doing. For 30 days, we are not going to search the internet, unless we need store hours or something essential. We get 5 minutes a day for news or sports (my husband) and 5 minutes for e-mail. We can do creative tasks such as writing or video editing. We can upload to YouTube, but we cannot use YouTube for anything else, unless we are doing a how-to on fixing something and we have to have said thing in our hands with tools present. We can still listen to the radio or audiobooks, but not while doing something else (i.e., while running). We can read books for entertainment and learning if we want to explore things we may be interested in. This is a modification of the 30-day digital detox by Cal Newport. I actually haven’t read the book yet, just googled the rules and found a few blogs with some of them. We have allowed one kid’s movie in the evening together (no iPad, or tv shows).

We incorporated the kid’s movie in the evening because we have tried this all before. When we went cold turkey on the screens, we made it about 8 days before I began to lose my mind. I couldn’t take a shower or make a meal without fear someone was choking on something or crying for mom every 10 seconds. Jason was working until about 6pm those days and having no TV for my toddler and newborn at the time just proved to be too hard. By the time my husband got home I thought I might run out the door. I guess people just didn’t bathe or they let their kids wail in the past, but I don’t know how they did it. So, we are slowly peeling back the screen time to a smaller amount. I know part of the problem is that even they are addicted. The ski jump of letting it all go at once was too sharp of a decline last time. We really want to get through this in a way that will work.

At the end of the day, I already feel better, and it is only day one. I left my phone on the charger and didn’t look at email or use my meditation app. I lit a little sage to anchor me and just connected to my breath. I could feel the pangs of addiction wanting to reach for it and check for any late-night texts or email. But I reassured them it would all be okay, we are trying something new, something healthy. I don’t know if I’ll make it through perfectly, but I will keep trying.

Next, I am going to go film the latest updates from the garden. Riveting stuff (really!). Adieu

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