Blank Slate

When people ask me what my book is about I tell them, “It’s about the first year of my life on the road in my RV by myself.” It sounds simple, but the steps it took to get in that RV and drive away were anything but!

Living the RV life was a dream of mine for decades. At times, long before I owned one, I would share it with others, “I can’t wait to get in my RV and drive away.”

They would laugh at me. I’m not sure if they were laughing at the fact that I was dreaming an impossible dream or that it was ridiculous to give up my very comfortable life to become what some call “trailer-trash”. But deep down I knew I’d be happy if my RV ever materialized. I stashed my dream in the back of my head and continued living my life.

And then it happened. A blank slate.

Have you ever had a blank slate experience? You know, that moment in time when some big change happens and life as you knew it ceases to exist?

It’s scary.

But it’s also a great time to hatch a dream.

I filled my blank slate with a monstrous motor home.

I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I didn’t know anything about buying a motorhome or driving one or living in one. All I knew was that if I didn’t make it happen then I probably never would.

I was terrified to take my vehicle for a test drive let alone drive it home through rush-hour traffic. As soon as I got behind the wheel I knew I was in way over my head. And when things went awry as I picked it up from the previous owner all I could think of was how people would laugh at me for making such a foolish and grand mistake.

But within days my decision turned into creating my new future.

Isn’t that the way it is with everything?  With the job you have? With the spouse/lover you have? With the children you have? If you had known before what you learned after you made your decision would you have made that same choice? Maybe not, depending on the day, or your mood.

With any change, any blank slate, be it large or small, there’s an opportunity to practice what it takes to live our dreams. It’s just facing the unknown with bravery and persistence. It’s what we all do every day of our lives.

Chapter 1 of my book is about how I lived through the first step in living my dream. I hope it gives you the courage to live yours.

What Does Your Dream Look Like?

                                                                SweetHartz hand-dipped Strawberries — YUM!

I am amazed by the number of people watching and talking about the Jodi Arias trial. Believe it or not I just learned who she was and what she did last week.

That kind of ignorance is intentional.

For a year I watched my mother die of cancer. I saw her sit on her deck and take in the beauty of her gardens, the sounds of the song birds, and the warmth of the sun on her skin. I could tell by the expression on her face that she was savoring those those trivial, precious, and fleeting pleasures.

We arranged our schedule around her dwindling energy supply, and overwhelmed her with relatives wanting to get one last visit in with her. I listened to the regrets she had in living her life. And, we smiled together as she counted her victories and success.

More than anything that year taught me the value of time. I began making decisions accordingly. For years I had told friends and co-workers that all I wanted to do was live in a RV and travel the country and help people. Some were shocked when I announced that I had purchased the motor coach.  Others, (my sons included) praised me for having the courage to act on my dream.

It’s not easy to follow a dream. Stepping out into the unknown is full of moments of, well, downright terror. But dreaming is addictive, and once one dream becomes a way of life, the next one is a little easier to grasp.  Not all of them are big life-changing ones. It’s the attitude that counts. I’m continually reviewing my “dream list” and looking for opportunities to fulfill them — so much so that I don’t have time to keep up on the adventures of others, like Jodi Arias.

Are you watching her drama unfold?  Is that how you want to spend your life’s precious moments? Maybe part of the fascination with her story is that she had the courage to act. I am not condoning what she did in any way, absolutely not. What I am saying is that maybe, just maybe, you are missing out on something really great in your own life by watching what is happening in hers. I’m urging you to consider finding the courage inside of you to act on your own behalf instead.

My brother has found that courage. He too has grabbed hold of his dream and is living it daily on the shores of Naples, Florida.  It’s called SweetHartz Confections. His wife has just taken the plunge too, and just recently left her job at the law firm to live the dream with him.  Are there days of stress and exhaustion involved? You bet! But, those moments when the dream is all that you expected and more can’t be beat!

What does your dream look like? What one thing can you do today to begin to live it? Begin…now

Just a reminder, Valentine’s Day is a week away. Be sure to treat your special someone to delicious hand-dipped chocolates from SweetHartz, or your favorite local confectioner.