The point of this post isn’t that I read a book that will change your life. (Though, maybe? It was Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover and it was couldn’t-put-it-down amazing and inspiring and totally crazy for me.)
The point is that I actually read a book.
I bought a Kindle Paperwhite last summer on Amazon Prime Day. We were just ramping up RV life prep, and I was high on the thought of how glorious the change of pace would be. I would surely FINALLY have time to read all the things! And since we would live in an RV and be all minimalistic and stuff, I wouldn’t be able to haul around a bunch of actual books.
When I got the Kindle, I loaded it with all kinds of self-help books- reads that would make me a better parent, that would make me better at my job, make me better at adulting.
Unknowingly, I put a lot of pressure on myself for this trip to change me for the better in every way. I mean, when you sell your house and half your stuff and you leave everything you worked for behind except the people you want to create a better world for, surely you wouldn’t do that to live the same kind of life you were trying to escape, right?
I felt like I had to come out of this not just better but having made totally awe-inspiring changes. Unrealistic and laughable expectations included: hot new muscular body made by working out and hiking every day, A+ parenting from finally figuring out how to get my kids to do what I would like for them to do without having to yell at them, soaring business- both old and new- from endless content and time spent creating and curating and promoting said content, and finally figuring out how to run a (very small) household free of clutter and mish-mash drawers where clothes are just shoved in along with random toys.
I never read any of those self-help books. I started a few. I tried. I barely made it through the first chapter of any of them. After we officially launched, and after enough time had passed when I couldn’t really use the “we’re still getting used to it” excuse, it became clear to me that changing not just my life but who I am as a person was going to be a monumental task that we didn’t really have time for between roadschooling and deadlines and laundry and plotting our route.
I’ve spent a lot of time on this trip trying to let go of guilt- of not doing enough quickly enough. By now, this blog should be full of way more posts- really insightful and helpful ones. By now, I should have a list of all the RV parks we’ve stayed at with detailed descriptions and opinions of each. By now, we should be able to better stick to a menu plan and a food budget. By now, we should have a routine. By now, I should have read those self-help books.
But I haven’t. We haven’t. And I don’t think anyone out there is judging me/us and much as I am. So I am actively working to forgive myself, to recognize that everything I’ve piled on myself is way too much for one person to work through, and to let this trip be just that- a road trip, a moment in time when we experience things together as a family, but not a year that will completely change our lives– or at least the way I live MY life, as a mother and a writer and a business owner and a person.
If that happens, great, but the realization will be in hindsight. I’m trying to stop taking notice of the changes or lack thereof in the day to day.
I read a book that had nothing to do with how to fix myself. I read it because it’s popular and many of my friends have read it. I devoured it in about 3 days, spending road trip time swiping through pages instead of answering emails or editing photos and videos.
I read a book, and then I downloaded another book- fiction. Maybe the only part of my life that really changes on this trip is that I’ve finally given myself permission to read books that simply let me escape the household tasks and the work tasks and the mothering tasks? But maybe not even that, and that’s ok.