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Finding the Gems of Joy in Everyday Life

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RV life isn’t all epic views and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Even if we travel from one Convergence or bucket-list item to the next, most of the time, it’s more about adjusting to changes—the changes we choose and those that are unexpected.

In that way, we may be uniquely suited to handle the current pandemic, but we’re also uniquely impacted. The past few weeks likely haven’t looked quite like anyone expected when we welcomed the new year. We’ve altered plans and adjusted our normal behaviors due to various restrictions in place, aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19.

We are all finding ways to cope, and uncertain about how long this will last before things get back to normal. And we wonder what that new normal might be. 

There is hope. This will not last forever.

But positive thoughts about the future seem to have limited use in the midst of “what day/week is this” thoughts, when every conversation seems to turn, sooner or later, to this pandemic. I never thought I’d look forward to conversations with RVers bringing up black tanks instead.

It isn’t always easy, but with so much beyond my control, I’m choosing to seek out what brings me joy.  Sometimes, it takes more effort and energy than I feel like I can spare, but it is worth the effort. To take back control of my time and thoughts, I have found a few ways in which I can find or create gems of joy in everyday life.

Explore New Opportunities

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Ask yourself “What can I do in this unique circumstance that I normally wouldn’t have the time or opportunity to do?” For some, this is an opportunity to expand your skills. From learning languages to taking classes on coding, your options are nearly endless. Even though we’re stuck at home, there are new creative ways to virtually visit other places, from touring zoos and other attractions to experiencing Broadway shows. 

For me, the local restrictions have provided an opportunity and incentive to get creative with meal plans. I am finding and testing new recipes and uses for my pressure cooker and air fryer. We have had some fun adventures along the way, and I hope to carry what I’m learning with me into my new normal.

And for others, this may be a good time to catch up on your self-care. Start that journal you’ve been putting off, reignite your creativity, clean out those catch-all spaces that have been a source of frustration- explore the ways in which you can express yourself or relieve some stress that you haven’t previously had the time to do.

Maintain Routines

Finding routines that are familiar, as much as I can, brings a sense of comfort and normalcy, something I appreciate more these days.

For many, your daily routine isn’t likely too affected. If you’re a walker, you get can still get out for a stroll (just follow recommended safety precautions). If morning coffee on your patio is your thing, you can still enjoy your cup of joy from the comfort of your camping chair, just ensure you minimize interaction with other campers.

If you find that some of your habits have been drastically affected, such as your afternoon happy hour with friends, look for new ways to use that time or to achieve the same result through other means. Conference calls and video streams have become a popular way to socialize without person-to-person contact.

Alternatively, you can use this time to reach out to those you see less often, spending time on the phone with friends and loved ones you rarely visit.

Finish Pending Projects

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Utilizing this time to complete home or RV improvements and other projects means that, when this is all over, there will be more free time and a shorter to-do list.

Plus, the sense of completion you get from reviewing your finished project can be a reward in itself. I’ve been able to make progress on craft projects that had just been taking up too much of my limited space. That’s another perk of finishing projects- less clutter in your RV!

Take Advantage Of Your Slower Pace

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We rarely travel this slowly and are taking this as an opportunity to slow down and notice the little things. Often, we experience seasonal changes quickly, while chasing certain types of weather. Now, I’m seeing the seasons change in a way I haven’t experienced in a while. I’ve seen tadpoles hatch and slowly grow in a puddle near my patio. I’ve observed loquats slowly ripening and enjoyed eating them when they’re finally ready. I’ve watched different types of plants bloom, then saw those blooms fade and be replaced by others.

While we are restricted in our travels and outings, we have an opportunity to get to know our immediate surroundings and neighborhoods more intimately and discover local businesses and restaurants who need our support more than ever before.

Life might seem like it’s in slow motion, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Even slow motion reveals the passing of time, as we get closer to when this will all be a memory. Using this extra time to complete tasks and projects has helped to provide a sense of accomplishment, and in some cases visible reminders that time is indeed passing. And branching out to try new things can help the time pass more quickly. We can choose to find the joy in this. Even if we wouldn’t have chosen it and hope it never happens again.

How are you passing the time? Where can you find the joy in the little things around you? Are there things that you hope don’t go back to exactly the way they used to be?

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Katherine Larson

Lifetime members of Escapees and Xscapers, Katherine and her husband Eric have been on the road since October 2016. Eric is a radiation therapist who travels to set up new cancer centers. They help people remember to celebrate little victories and make the most of good days, because cancer doesn’t make life fragile, it just reveals how fragile life is. You can see more of their experiences on Instagram @CelebrateGoodDays.

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