“Hey babe, what if next summer we set off on an adventure as a family and travel around the country in an RV for a year or two?”
“I could see doing that.”
A couple of hours later my wife comes to me … “There has to be a bigger reason to do this. Simply traveling the country to see things doesn’t feel like enough.”
“What if we use this opportunity to take Simple Marriage (the original name of SMR Nation) on the road and meet people, hear other’s stories, and hopefully spread a healthy marriage message?”
A big smile appears.
This conversation took place late in 2010 and launched us on a path toward a great adventure.
By the following week, we had a lead on a truck and fifth wheel. By the end of the year we owned it. In February our house was on the market, routes were being discussed, homeschooling/roadschooling information was being researched, and all our extended family had heard about our great adventure.
While we still hadn’t announced our plans on a large scale, everything was in motion.
Fast forward to today … I’m writing this while still being in our home having sold the truck and fifth wheel. Our kids are in school. My wife is still working and my practice is still in full swing.
There were many things that led us to the decision to stay. The main thing we discovered is that with any adventure, dream, plan, or goal of any significant size – you reach a point where you must decide to go all in, or not.
I have a feeling that many “lifestyle design types” will say we caved or gave up on our adventure. You may as well.
I look at it this way. We reached a point where we had to decide to take a complete leap of faith and go, or be good stewards of what we have and modify our plans.
We opted for the latter.
Does this mean we failed?
Not to me.
We learned that life, and marriage, really are what you make it.
You don’t have to live life according to how everyone else does, or expects. Even if that means you don’t go on the adventure or don’t start that company.
You can create what you want. You can take a chance, toss your expectations in the ocean, and live fully alive in your present situation.
Life really is a story.
So are relationships.
According to Robert McKee, all that’s necessary for a great story is a character you care about (that’s you), conflict (that’s marriage, relationships, work, giving, service, kids), and a resolution to the conflict (achieving a goal, raising your kids, dating your spouse, shipping the product, creating the artwork).
You can create a great story right where you are.
Perhaps that means you need to change course or alter your plans – okay.
Or you need to do your job better – okay.
Or you need to find a different job – okay.
The point is, move into your story and be a good character in the telling of it.
Being flexible and changing plans when warranted doesn’t make you a failure, especially when you remain a good character in your story.
Look at it this way – there is only one you in the entire world. And no one can tell your story better than you.
Tell it by living it to the fullest!
Be passionate with your spouse. Play with your kids. Create something great for others. Give of yourself to those around you. Be more present in every moment of your life.
What I think you’ll find is when you are more involved in living your story, everything else falls into place.
As for me, our story has changed several times from adventure to mystery, to adventure and back again to mystery. And who doesn’t love a good mystery?