* Disclaimer: This was written after 20 hours of driving and no sleep.
We spent five hours stranded in Albuquerque because the hitch we welded onto our custom bumper didn't hold up. Perry had to call a ridiculous amount of parts stores and the last place we called had ONE left. Hallelujah. If they didn't have it we would have had to stay a couple nights in ABQ and find somewhere to house our trailer full of stuff from our storage. Thankfully we just needed to bolt the new hitch on and $400 and five hours later we were on our way.
I was frustrated when Perry first told me what the issue was and how much of a pain it would all be to sort out. I still wouldn't say I'm happy about it, but seeing as things are what they are I didn't want to waste the little energy I had on being angry or upset. I'm at the beginning of a pretty heavy cold so my energy is hard to come by. Instead of dwelling on the unfortunate I focused on what good can come of it, what I can learn from this...
I thought about that bumper and how this never would have happened had we not changed the bumper to begin with. The bumper we had was perfectly fine and had a proper hitch to start with. But no, we got caught up in personalizing the ol' 4Runner when we got her. We had a bumper crafted and welded from pieces of steel. And for why? Because we got caught up in the aesthetic of it all, caught up in the potential. Perry had this vision of what he wanted it to look like and how it was supposed to function. We created this story in our minds of what it was going to be like as we so often do and we got lost in it. We sacrificed the functionality for the feeling, to chase the story. And although that bumper actually did come in handy when we backed into a boulder in Boulder, Colorado — it barely even left a mark — all the stress and money spent in ABQ could have been avoided. We should have either let things be and not bought into our romanticized vision of it all or we should have finished what we started and completed the bumper with the hitch so it would be fully functional. But no. We abandoned the whole vision half way through because the romance fizzled and we focused our energy somewhere else.
So, I learned don't flail about from one passion to the next, from one idea to the next — focus, figure out your why, and finish what you set out to do. If we would have paused for a moment and asked ourselves why, we would have came up with an answer that could have saved us a whole lotta trouble.
Don't flail. Ask why. Find purpose. Commit.
It's okay to get excited. It's okay to fall into the romance. But don't drown in the feeling. Don't get lost in an emotion that is fleeting. Use your passion and excitement to fuel your actions, to commit once you know your why.
I needed the reminder to put purpose behind my actions.
The other lesson I learned from all this is don't get attached to material things. I already knew this and fancy myself a minimalist to a degree, but this whole experience drove the point home. We talked about not getting a trailer at all and just filling the back of the 4Runner with the most important things and everything else would have to be given away. I loved the concept of this, but I didn't want Perry to have to leave some of his music gear like amps and his cello. So I sided with getting a 5x8 trailer to tow. We could easily fit what we have and we wouldn't have to slim down our already slimmed down possessions. The thing is, if I would have sided against the trailer, we would have a whole lot less worries. This is a hearty reminder to choose less over more. Don't get greedy or attach yourself to material things that may just end up being a burden anyway. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
Last lesson was to ALWAYS trust your intuition. The day before we headed out on our trek I was booking two hotel rooms, one in Albuquerque and one in Little Rock. ABQ was booked in seconds but when I tried to book Little Rock the site kept saying there was an error. I put it off until the night in ABQ and the site said error again. I decided to use a different booking site and I had almost completed the booking when something told me not to. I mean I was just seconds away from clicking the purchase button when I thought to myself, "Maybe I had those errors for a reason. Maybe I'm not supposed to book this." I closed my computer and went to sleep. And it's a good thing I listened to that feeling, my intuition, because we'd be out another hundred bucks.
Listen. Trust. Act accordingly.
We had lost about five hours of driving time and Perry decided instead of booking another night somewhere he was going to drive the rest of the way home — 21 hours from New Mexico to North Carolina. I didn't think it was a good idea for him to not get any rest, but he insisted. We listened to Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita and drove until sunrise when we stopped in Memphis for much needed coffee.
Even with our troubles, we are going to make it home even earlier than we planned thanks to Perry's determination.
We may live in the clouds together and romanticize everything flailing around in our ideals and passions, but man our love is steady, our love is strong. With every experience, every moment we learn, we grow closer, we become better for ourselves and one another. But it's our awareness that allows us to grow amidst trials. It's our openness to growth that allows our love to ground us when we need it most.