Remember this from last year?
I was not under the impression that everything would go smoothly and there would not be any bumps... BUT, what happened was the worst case scenario I had outlined when deciding if I wanted to do this thing: the worst case is the van breaks down and isn’t workable, so I buy a new van and convert it in a parking lot somewhere.... And that’s exactly what happened.
I spent an insane amount of money on my credit cards trying to figure out this lifestyle. This was fine because I was just going to live in my van when I returned... Even a year of that would have made it all ok....
But instead, I got a liver tumor, had to have half my liver and my gallbladder out, and then left the hospital to a global pandemic.
So, let’s talk about the pandemic and my version of #vanlife.
I am really lucky to have been planning to stay at my mom’s outside Philly, while she is at her partner’s house in Oregon. I am very very grateful for this place to stay during the worst of the Shelter in Place restrictions. I had lots of space to live, and to walk every day without worrying about coming in close contact with others. The grocery stores were relatively well-stocked and I know we are very privileged to have that experience. I was able to heal from my surgery, and start running and doing strength training again! And in good news, 10 weeks post surgery, my liver and kidney function was totally normal! Yay for my amazon organs!!!
I am truly grieving the death of all these plans and dreams and fantasies. Half of my sabbatical was a wash. I have a compromised immune system from my major surgery so I can’t just drive back all willy-nilly. My plans to go to Europe are over and I can’t do FT #vanlife because I don’t have the services I would need to make that happen during the pandemic... Because of that, I can’t even just postpone my epic Europe trip.... I will have to work an overload for 4 years to make this up.
Yes, I am very grateful that I have a job and can work an overload. But that doesn’t change the grief I am experiencing. Dawn of the Dawn of Vanlife and I talked about that (and a lot of other random shit) here.
Ok! Now that I have complained about the loss of so many dreams, let’s talk about the good:
This year has taught me so much about who I am and what I want and what I deserve. I have learned that I am very strong and I can problem solve like a beast! I mean, I converted a van BY MYSELF in 9 freaking days!
I made so many dating mistakes but also totally learned my worth through those mistakes. I learned I will never question my intuition. I learned that I need a high level of emotional intelligence and empathy. I learned that I am a complete catch and speaking my needs early and often is a gift. I’m sure I’ll discuss dating in the pandemic in a different post but I have been talking to someone awesome and I have a lot of hope for the possibilities of that situation. I definitely had to weed through folks, but I feel so confident and happy with myself at this point.... Someone even recently told me that I seem really comfortable in my skin, and that was a pretty mind-blowing revelation.
I got to rework all of my classes and I am very excited for my sabbatical project workshop. It’s on online communication courses and equity success, which has never before been more important!
I also now have this amazing van that I can travel in over the summer and on breaks! I got to make a lot of updates while in the suburbs so she is really looking great!
I can’t say I wouldn’t change a thing, because that simply isn’t true. I wouldn’t have bought a POS van. I wouldn’t have dated someone who lied to me. I wouldn’t have had to have major surgery or a global pandemic.... But I do feel like I have a good perspective returning to real life. I am sure the lessons I have learned have made me ready for the future.