Two years ago, I would wake with a dull ache in my jaw. My teeth would be throbbing. I rarely slept through the night. Occasionally, bouts of insomnia would hit me. My mind would not shut off. A vicious conversation would be taking place in my thoughts at 3 am. “Am I good enough to do this job?” “How can I solve ratings issues for a radio station that doesn’t have a loyal following?” “Am I making enough money to pay the bills? Is my relationship going to be damaged because we work so much?” “I am fat and getting old.” These statements and questions would go through my head – all the time. My inner conversation at 3 am was one-sided, dark, and sad.
At times I would cry; sobbing, feeling sorry for myself. My mental health was at a low point in March 2015. I was working 50-60 hours a week. My blood pressure was so high that my doctor asked me, “do you have to do this as your career?” I had to wear a mouth guard to protect my teeth from grinding in my sleep. For years, I had ground my teeth so hard that I cracked my back molar and had to have it removed. I was going regularly to the chiropractor for back problems. He indicated a lot of it was from sitting and stress. At times my back would hurt so bad I wouldn’t be able to carry the laundry down the stairs or walk far with the dog.
The amount of pressure my job & own mindset created had built to an all-time high. It was making me mentally unstable and affecting my body in so many ways. It was only a matter of time before something more serious would occur to my health. But then, I lost my job.
Once the initial shock and anger wore off, the relief was imminent. The job loss turned out to be a wonderful blessing in disguise. When we decided to live the full-time RV lifestyle things started falling in place for our future. I also saw improvements in my health. My back slowly started to get better. My blood pressure went down. I reduced the amount of medication I was taking. I spent more time with Bella & Adam which is always fantastic.
Now when I work now, I leave work at work. I never think of work now when I am at home. I now know that I am not the kind of person that was meant to do a job that envelops your entire life. I respect people that can do that but I’m not built for that. I’m a creative person and when my life is fully engaged in work 24/7 with no time for reading, writing and reflecting, my creativeness diminishes and I slowly wither away.
One of the first things I did when I lost my job was write a book. It took me a few months to complete and I found the process very cathartic. It hasn’t seen the light of day since April 2016, but one day I will go back and do something with it. My life has changed so much since we have started the full-time RV lifestyle and it hasn’t even been a year yet.
Changes That Have Happened Since We Started the Full-Time RV Lifestyle
- My inner dialogue has changed. I still struggle with body image issues, but for the most part, I know that if I can live the full-time RV lifestyle, be debt free, work as a server, be creative and have fun with Adam and the new friends we meet along the way, I no longer care or think of my life as failing. 85 per cent of the time I am happy and that is all that matters.
- I sleep through the night. It’s rare that I wake up with my inner voice whispering evil things and making me worry, which resulted in high blood pressure and no sleep. Now I wake up because Paris Frances is stepping on my forehead or Adam is kicking in his sleep.
- My mouth feels better. My jaw is no longer sore in the morning and my teeth don’t hurt. This is because of the reduced amount of mental stress I go through.
- My blood pressure is down. I still take a tiny bit of medication, but I feel a lot better. This is due to a change of jobs and the overall way I think about things.
- I’m moving more. I walk probably between 8-12 km a day at my job as a server. While I haven’t slimmed down a lot, it helps me sleep a lot better at night. Having a job that includes physical activity is a great thing.
- I let a lot of things go now. Family having a dispute? Co-workers not getting along? Dog shook water and sand all over the RV floor? I don’t really care now. I file that in the “Let It Go” department.
- I go outside every day – rain or shine. Even when my feet ache from work, I take the dog out. I walk on the beach, I breathe in fresh air. I look at the beauty of the trees in Tofino. I marvel at birds flying over the ocean. I feed peanuts to Steller’s Jays. I look at Adam, Bella, and Paris and I know what a great thing we all have.
I don’t blame radio for what was happening with my health at the time. I blame myself for not thinking I was worth more than that. I now know that all of those variables that caused me to be physically and mentally broken have no place in my life. I’ve said goodbye to that lifestyle and do not feel one ounce of guilt.
Living the full-time RV lifestyle has helped my health and has made my life more enriching and exciting. I can’t imagine ever going back to the lifestyle I had before.