Good morning, everyone! Well, it’s morning here at Yosemite National Park. It’s 5 AM, it’s raining, thundering and lighting outside, I’m sitting here in the dark at my dinette/desk in my little RV, with no electricity, no Wi-Fi, no cell service, and hoping I have enough battery left on my laptop to finish this recording!
Plus, I’m rushing to drive out of here, because I don’t know if you heard, there is a gigantic hurricane coming to California today. I was supposed to head towards Malibu, but I had to reroute to stay more inland and north of the storm. Hopefully my next destination will have power, Wi-Fi, and cell service.
It makes me realize how valuable all of those things are to us these days. It also makes me realize how valuable my bad days are to me, because they allow me to turn them into a teaching lesson for you! Score! I’m like your little guinea pig of transformation! The dark storm actually gave this little glamper something to talk about for today’s episode, so thank you dark storm!
I’m going to teach you how to handle bad moments, bad days, and bad situations. This lesson is something my dad taught me years ago. Well, that’s not true. He taught me this my entire life, but he kindly reminded me of this lesson when I first started off on my solo RV trip across the country.
I had just bought my RV in Nashville, Tennessee, drove it all the way back to Chicago, I quit my corporate job the next day, and I began squeezing the rest of my belongings into this little box on wheels. Just that alone, was a bit stressful for me. Exciting, but still stressful. I was also trying to rush out of Chicago because there was a snowstorm coming.
Geez –– what’s with me always trying to get ahead of these storms? Hmmm. That’s sounds like an interesting metaphor, and it sounds like a good topic for another episode!
Anyways, back to this episode and back to that fine moment years ago when I was trying to take off on my epic journey across the country that I dreamt about for so long when my brand-new RV began having issues and I began losing my shit.
The house battery went dead, I lost all the food in my fridge and freezer, my Murphy bed broke, I had a leak in my bathroom, I had no power on one side of the RV (I would take that problem right now) and one of the storage doors underneath the RV that contained my grill flew open while I was driving to Camping World to get all these problems fixed!
I was a little nervous already taking off on this big RV trip across the country by myself, but that nervousness quadrupled with all the mechanical and electrical issues. My mind immediately went to: oh my gosh, how am I going to handle all of this shit by myself? I don’t know how to fix this stuff! What if I get stranded out in the desert or something? What have I gotten myself into?
I picked up the phone to call my mom, because if you need someone on your side when you’re pissed and angry and you just want to punch the wall, you call my mom. If you’re worked up, she’ll get worked up with you. She’ll ride the wave of anger with you before she even knows what you’re upset about.
“Whhhhat? Albertsons didn’t give you a discount on the pork chops?! That is ridiculous! I’m never going back there again!”
But when I picked up the phone to call my mom that day to get someone else to lose their shit with me, my mom didn’t answer. My dad picked up her phone instead.
Now, let me tell you about my dad. He is a man of few words, but the words he speaks are to the point and without any bullshit. He says what he means, and he means what he says. Unlike my mom, he does not jump on the losing-your-shit bandwagon, but instead is calm, cool, and collected. I think it’s important to mention that my dad is a retired FBI agent, so needless to say, he has plenty of experiences conquering crappy situations. My parents have also been full-time RVers for 27 years, so they obviously know what RV life can be like at times. It’s not always yummy smores by the campfire!
Here’s how the conversation went:
Hey Dad. Is Mom around?
Nope. I think she went to the store. Are you on the road yet?
No. I’ve been trying to get on the road, but the house battery went dead, I lost all the food in my fridge and freezer, my Murphy bed broke, I had a leak in my bathroom, I have no power on one side of the RV and one of the storage doors flew open and my grill almost fell on the road while I was driving! Waaaa!
And this is all my dad said: Well hon’, ya’ just gotta roll with the punches.
Call us when ya get on the road.
Ummm okay. Thanks Dad. Love ya, bye.
I sat there in my little dinette, the same place I’m sitting right now, thinking about what he said.
You just gotta roll with the punches.
He was right. I had to suck it up buttercup, stop wasting my energy on the drama, anxiety, and frustration of the situation, calm the heck down and start looking for ways to remedy the situation. The bitching and whining did me no good whatsoever. It was time for me to pull up my bootstraps and get back at it.
From this experience, I discovered ways to handle life when the shit hits the fan, so even now when I’m sitting here in a massive storm without power, wifi or cell service, while the fresh fish sitting in my freezer that I worked so hard to catch in Oregon is thawing out as I speak, I am able to stay cool, calm, and collected.
Being your little guinea pig, I’m going to teach you 4 steps to slay your struggles. Considering I love acronyms, we will use the word ROLL, R-O-L-L as in ROLL with the punches, in our lesson today. I’ve got 30% battery left on my laptop, so say a prayer that I get to finish running my mouth before my battery runs out!
Okay, let’s roll!
Step #1: R stands for Relax into it!
When you encounter a stressful situation such as receiving a phone call with bad news, getting laid off from your job, dropping the casserole on the floor that you worked so hard to make, getting pulled over for a speeding ticket and realizing you left your wallet at home on the kitchen counter, getting served with divorce papers, or even worse, losing power and you can’t make a fresh cup of coffee, the very first thing you need to do is RELAX!
It is so easy to jump on the bitchy bandwagon when you have a bad moment, but the negative energy will not help you. It will actually hinder you causing unnecessary pain and stress, and stress is not good for you.
Instead, relax into it. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, relax your shoulders, and tell yourself to stay calm. One of my favorite breathing techniques is to breathe in for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four, and breathe out for a count of 7. I use this technique A LOT! It will help to slow down your heart rate, your blood pressure, and calm your nerves.
If your struggle is severe, sometimes stepping away from it is a good thing. We sometimes want to fix things right away when maybe it’s something that cannot be fixed right away. Therefore, the best thing to do is step away from it, go lay down if you can, take a walk, sit in meditation, do some yoga, or just veg in front of the TV. Whatever you can do to keep your body and mind calm, so you can some back to the situation with more clarity and composure.
Step #2: O stands for Own it
Yes, you have to own your shit. Own up to it, claim it and take responsibility for it. Some of you can’t stand the cliché of it is what it is, but it is what it is. You can’t avoid it, deny it, or sleep through it, you must face it. Like a boss.
Actually, take the opportunity to really master tough situations in your life. Become your own guinea pig by maneuvering through this experience with strength and confidence. The more you do it, the better you get at it. This is how you become resilient. You don’t become resilient by flowing through life without problems. You become resilient by flowing through life with problems.
Not only do you need to own the problem, but you also need to own your ability to handle the problem. You need to trust that you have the skills to tackle anything. You may not know what to do right away, but you must have faith in yourself that you will figure it out.
I mean, look at me y’all, I didn’t know how to drive an RV across the country, refill the Diesel Exhaust Fluid in the engine, or dump the dumpers, but gosh dang it, I figured it out. I also didn’t know how to be a pregnant teenager, grieve for my husband dying at 26 years old, or getting sick from black mold toxicity and Lyme disease, but I figured it out.
No matter what you’ve got going in your life right now, or what you will encounter in your future, you will figure it out.
Own the situation and own your badassery to get through it.
Step #3: L stands for Look for solutions
Where there is a problem, there is a solution. Put on your thinking cap and look for ways to solve the problem. Ask yourself: what can I do to help this situation?
Get creative and be like inspector gadget. Again, make this problem an opportunity to really shine in your life. Prove to yourself that you are the boss of your life, and you can handle anything tossed your way. Cheer yourself on to plow through it with gusto and passion.
Going back to what I said before, sometimes doing nothing is a solution. One of my favorite prayers that got me through tough times and still does is the Serenity Prayer.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Depending on the problem, sometimes you can’t do a damn thing about it. But what CAN you do? You can stay calm, be strong and supportive. That leads us into the final step.
Step #4: L stands for Let it go
Have you ever noticed that the world keeps spinning, the power eventually comes back on, the water leak gets fixed, you find a new job, you pay the speeding ticket, your divorce gets finalized, and you get a fresh cup of coffee?
Life goes on. Life is dynamic and not static. Life is not meant to be still, motionless, or fixed. Life is meant to be active, energetic, and vibrant. Life keeps moving and you have to learn to move with it. You have to learn to –– as my dad would say –– roll with the punches. You have to learn to let go and relax into life.
Remember the song:
Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream
And it is. Life is a dream.
It’s a beautiful dream filled with good days and bad days, joy and sadness, victory and defeat, tragedy and triumph, smiles and frowns, water leaks and water fountains, storms and sunshine.
So, get in your little boat, sit back, and row down the stream of your life with ease. Allow life to be what it is knowing that life will keep moving.
Relax into it
Look for solutions
Let it go
With 10% left on my laptop battery and a big storm on the way, I’m gonna need to let you go, too, or I will literally be rowing a boat down the stream!
Oh! Speaking of streams, I got to do some amazing hikes through streams and waterfalls here at Yosemite! As soon as I get to my next destination with power and Wi-Fi, I will share some cool videos on my Instagram page, so make sure you check it out at Wendy Valentine or The Midlife Makeover Show.
Thank you for keeping me company during this storm and through the storms of life. We will all get through our bad storms together. Not just get through them but thrive through them.
I hope you found today’s words of wisdom helpful and trust that you can roll with the punches in life. No matter how big the punches may be and no matter how hard you get knocked down to the ground, get back up and handle it like a boss.
I will chat with you on Thursday when I will hopefully be in Sunny Malibu! Have a great day everyone!
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