Shifting Gears: When Priorities Change

Thanks to Jordan McQueen over at unsplash.com for the great image!
Thanks to Jordan McQueen over at unsplash.com for the great image!

Okay, so I’ve been loving campervans for years, but now I’m finding I love something more:  good health.
Since Ana and I changed our diet I’m more energetic, I’m stonger, I think more clearly, I sleep better,

and I plain feel better.

I feel like I’ve woken up from a long slumber filled with hazy dreams to find that my life isn’t what I want it to be and my priorities have changed.

Before, when things got tough, I was just concerned with making it through the next day and to do that I needed something to look forward to – an escape. And that’s where a lot of the campervan and RV dreams came into play.

The idea of literally being able to hop into a vehicle and get away from my everyday life for a while kept me going during those bad days and weeks. I dreamed about fishing all day and then going to sleep tucked safely in a comfy bed next to the lake where I caught my dinner. I wanted to wake up to the sunrise and write until noon on the beach, then go for a walk and meet friendly people. Don’t get me wrong – this all sounds heavenly, still. But now I want to do them not to escape my life, but to enhance my life.

Yeah, I still have bad days (and am actually in the middle of a bad couple of weeks right now), but I don’t look at my circumstances and blame them for my struggles. By that I mean that I no longer think, “If only I could just get away, everything would be better.” I find myself examining my behavior, instead. Like right now, I know my problem is I that I started looking to other people for validation and approval so much that I started questioning my own worth. I’m a grown woman and that’s not where I want to be emotionally. I want to be able to look to myself for approval and validation and to not get knocked down by what I perceive to be the opinions of others. I don’t want to play those mind games with myself anymore. The opinions of others are none of my business and they don’t define me.

So what does this all mean when it comes to my goals and priorities? Escape, and the campervan with it, no longer sits in the top slot for my dedication and attention. Now the most important thing to me is my good health. I want to keep my sharp mind, my clear senses, and my blissful sleep. And that means Ana and I’d better have the money to eat healthy, high quality food. Before, when I wanted the van more than anything else, I budgeted only $200 for groceries for the two of us for a whole month. That is do-able if you only eat cheap boxed mac n’ cheese, ramen, and frozen burritos. But now we’re eating blueberries, salmon, kale, and tons of other healthy stuff that is way more expensive per serving (and per calorie). So I upped the grocery budget to $438 per month and added separately budgeted money for things like deodorant, toothpaste, sandwich bags, tin foil, and Windex. This means the whole $438 will actually go toward food.

So our ability to sock away large sums of money each month has decreased. On top of that, now that I know how much better Ana and I feel on a healthy diet, I’ve researched dog and cat nutrition and looked at what we’re feeding our pets and am not happy. I want our critters to live long, healthy lives and it’s unlikely they will on food with corn as the first listed ingredient. So we’re switching them to higher quality kibble with the eventual goal of going away from commercially produced food altogether

Sooo want!
Sooo want!

and feeding home-prepared food that meets all of their nutritional needs. In order to do that we need some expensive kitchen equipment like a number 12 commercial meat grinder, a big freezer, and a fridge that actually keeps meat cold without freezing all of our vegetables. And we like to do things right the first time, so that means we’ll be buying durable, high quality appliances. Then, once we have all the equipment, feeding our large brood homemade, species appropriate, nutritionally balanced and complete meals will end up costing more than feeding ourselves!

But I don’t mind, and neither does Ana. I’m actually excited about the prospect of cooking for our krids (critter-kids).

So, between the increased costs of food for us, saving for kitchen appliances, and home-chow for the krids, not much is left for saving for, fixing up, and insuring a campervan.

Right now I’m trying to decide how I feel about all this and what I want to do. I’ve wanted an RV of some type ever since my neighbors bought a fancy slide-in truck camper when I was 4 years old. Being able to go on camping and fishing trips with Ana or solo writing retreats in a comfy camping vehicle would improve our relationship, my writing, and be damn fun, besides. But I don’t know if it is in the cards right now.

But that takes me back to a phrase that haunts me in moments of doubt and struggle – “If not now, when?” Even though I don’t just want escape, I still crave the adventure, enjoyment, and challenge of travel. I want to go new places, meet new people, and change my perspective through new information and experiences.

Cats can live for more than 30 years and by then I’ll be in my mid-60’s. No way do I want to wait that long to fulfill my dream. Should I modify my current goals? Should I lower my ideal standards of nutrition and species-appropriate feeding for the krids? Is there a compromise or other way to do it all?

I don’t know at this point.

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