Written by: Beth Hudson, LBKA
My husband and I have been camping (and now glamping) for over 40 years. Started in tents and we are now full-timing in CC, our 40 foot fifth wheel. Although we bought it before my amputation, it is perfectly suited to my medical needs.
There is a YouTube channel called “HappilyEverHanks,” which is a 30’s something couple who full-time in their RV and have excellent videos. We’ve enjoyed many of their tips. In one of their latest videos, Carl said, “It’s always something.” When he calls his dad, they always end up talking about something that needs to be fixed, tweaked, changed, or replaced. “It’s always something, isn’t it?” Carl also said it doesn’t matter if it’s an RV or a home - there is always something that needs to be done.
And I thought, same for us amputees - there is always something to be done. Some new skill to learn, something we need to change or tweak or fix. Something we need to do for ourselves to make our life easier, better, and/or become more independent. Or something to help others help us, or a personal passion.
And it’s December, and I know that some are already starting to think about a new year’s resolution. I don’t like them - we set our sights on something we can’t achieve and then fail and say, “Oh Well!.” Instead, perhaps we should think about what our “it’s always something” is that we want to do for 2023. If we shift our thinking to something that we can change without the pressure of failing, we have a better chance of succeeding.
The beauty is that it can be the smallest of “somethings.” Nothing grandiose that makes failure imminent. And instead of focusing on yourself, it may be easier to focus on something else. There are many nonprofits that need help - volunteer. Perhaps you can’t work at your same job - pivot and try something else. Maybe there is someone in your community or family who needs support. Or if you do want to make it personal - something that will help you become more independent - driving comes to mind. Being able to do your daily chores that you now have to learn to do differently. Try something new for your mental health - you don’t have to be good at something to enjoy it. Think outside the box.
As you work on your “something,” one of two things will happen. As my friend Jody said in an earlier blog, “you will never lose - you will either win or learn.” If you can shift to this philosophy, there is no giving up or saying “Oh Well.” If you are learning, then you are NOT failing.
Don’t do it alone - get support or help where and when you need it. My “something” this year was to do the 1 mile open water swim at CAF in San Diego - I’ve never even thought about doing something so crazy, but I decided to try. I found a pool and started to swim. My first time in the pool, I could only do one length (25 yards) before I had to stop and rest. It took me a week before I could do a lap (up and back, 50 yards). I had to figure out how to swim without my legs and make adjustments. Realized I needed a coach and found one (that took a lot of help from others!) Within a month I was up to a quarter mile. In 3 months I was up to a mile and ready to go. Didn’t happen overnight, and my “something” was always changing.
San Diego would have been a disaster without Better Half - he carried all my stuff (including an extra leg) and made sure I was where I was supposed to be - on time. It was more stressful for him than for me; part of my “it’s always something” was making it as easy as possible for him. We were constantly reevaluating the “what” and the “how,” as I had never in my life been in a competition like that - high learning curve for sure! Guess what - we had an absolute blast, and the swim itself was the most fun thing I have done since my accident.
Of course, you know that I am a goal-oriented person. Putting that aside, life, in its broadest sense, is a series of “it’s always something” that needs to be addressed. When we had to learn to do everything over again in a different way, those “somethings” were often overwhelming. That’s when you prioritize and just start.
With Better Half’s retirement, we took off in CC and will be living in her for at least a year - lots of “somethings” every day. High learning curve again - going out for a few weeks is very different from living in an RV as a home. We address new “somethings” on a daily basis. We look at those “somethings” as both adventures and ways to learn and grow; we will be the better for it.
Fix something, tweak something, change something, replace something. Every time you take care of “something,” you add a skill to your proverbial toolbox. You may start with only a hammer and wrench, but soon your toolbox will be full - each time making the next “something” easier to tackle.
May you tackle your 2023 “somethings” with, as my good friend Melissa says, “grit, grace, and gratitude.”
And remember: You never know how much strength you have until you are called upon to use it.