Jane asked me to write a blog about how to deal with advice and concerns from the people around you, when you choose your own path and stray from the beaten track. In her case, this involves living in a gypsy wagon. I really liked the idea of writing about this, because you could come across a lot of resistance. How do you stay true to yourself? Here we go, Jane!
Choosing your own way in life takes courage, when that way differs from the gold standard for most people, or from how other people think you should live your life. Personally I think it’s the only way to be truly happy. But not everyone has the courage to do what’s right for themselves, and to actually go for it. When you do, it can be very confronting for the people around you. They’d rather have you ‘acting normal’. That way, at least you know what you have and they don’t have to worry about you. It can be an inconvenient truth: wanting to change things but not knowing how, and then seeing someone else change their course completely. It’s confronting to see that it actually can be done. But it takes guts, the will to change, and dedication. For most people, that’s too scary. They’re afraid to take the plunge or aren’t sure about what they really want.
They might genuinely be worried for you. You’re changing tracks, with a lot of questions unanswered, and they want you to be well. ‘What happens in wintertime in a house like that?’ ‘What happens when you get older, or have an accident so you can’t go up the stairs anymore?’ Legitimate questions, I guess, which deserve some thought. But how do you deal with all these opinions, concerns and questions without losing sight of your path and your truth?
Listen to the people that love you and ignore the rest. Listen to what they have to say, thank them for loving you enough to worry about you. Tell them that you’ve heard them and you understand and appreciate their concerns and that you won’t take their advice and questions lightly. Think about it and listen to your heart: is this true for me, is this something that I might have to deal with? If the answer is yes: deal with it. And if no: let it go.
Sometimes people forget how flexible we as humans are. We’ve become accustomed to so much luxury and comfort in this country, that it’s hard to imagine what life was like about 100 years ago. We can do without all this luxury and comfort, it’s easy enough to adapt. I’m not saying you have to; it’s a decision you can make. But when you want to live in a Tiny House, gipsy wagon, trailer, houseboat or whatever, and even go off-grid, you’ll have to cut back on luxury and comfort. That’s fine though! You’ll get so much in return. More money, freedom, nature around you, new people and feeling good about taking better care of the earth, to name only a few.
Of course, at the beginning of my adventure, there were people who asked me if I knew what I was getting into, or who worried if I would still be enjoying myself in winter, or if I would be crying my eyes out looking for a ‘normal’ house again. Well, that might have been a reality; there’s no way to be sure in advance. But I felt in my heart that this was my path and that living in a Tiny House would be right for me. I’m so glad I listened to my heart, because as usual it was right!
If some questions or remarks leave you with a feeling of resistance or unease, take it as a sign to investigate them. Find a quiet place and sit down with this question or subject in mind. Ask yourself: What it is that I’m afraid of? Why am I reacting so intensely? Is part of this concern true? Is it something I have to deal with? Most of the time, the answer will be yes. This still gives you the chance of going your own way and finding a solution that fits you. A hundred people have a hundred opinions and most people will know better than you (at least they will think so). But this is your life, your path, and you’re the only one who knows what’s right for you. That doesn’t mean you can’t learn from each other. So, listen to the people around you, thank them for their advice and then decide if this is something for you to act on. That’s not always easy, but practice makes perfect! ;)