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Get a (Slow Poke) Life!

Dear Friend,

One of the biggest concerns that I hear from others about the idea of taking off with their families is a fear that they will kill each other in short order.

I think that every family faces this fear to some degree or another. When put in close quarters and forced to work closely together, people can get on each others nerves. Fast.

If you had some friction in your family when living a conventional lifestyle, you can expect, in the early stages of your transition, that this friction will be magnified twenty fold. You may now be traveling together or perhaps you are involved in some creative activity that requires your family to spend a lot of time together, working as a team? Either way, this is a real issue.

Is there a solution to this problem? Is living a creative lifestyle reserved solely to those families that are completely free of dysfunction and discord (in other words, fictional families)?

There are no easy answers. But if you want to break out of your dull life, and you are determined to take your family along with you, then this is a challenge that you must overcome.

I face the same issues as you. Perhaps the only difference between us is that I am on the road, living my dream, and facing these challenges head on, while you are sitting at home reading about it?

If you just can’t stand spending a lot of “quality” time with your family, perhaps you should just admit this to yourself. The idea might frighten you. You may not like this fact about yourself. But it doesn’t matter. If you’ve given it the old college try but you just know that being extra close to your family will do more damage than good to your relationships, then you need to face facts.

You are who you are. To be fully satisfied, you need to fully accept every aspect of you, including those aspects that you aren’t proud of. Welcome to the real world. None of us can live up to the ideal image we have constructed for ourselves. And so what?

Happiness doesn’t require utopia, just surrender. Surrender to who you really are. If that means accepting that you’re just not that into your family, then that’s what you have to do.

Perhaps this traipsing off to live a new life is your spouse’s idea? Perhaps you are afraid to let them down. Or you are afraid that if you don’t grin and bear it, you’ll lose both your spouse and your family?

Like I said before, this is not an easy process. But understand this – the decision to live your life creatively did not create these conflicts within your relationships, it only shined a light on them. If you prefer to live in denial, then you can certainly do so. But will you live a happy life that way?

I think that it is also important to understand that your fears of a relationship apocalypse are probably unfounded. As I point out in one of my recent posts, the beginning of a new adventure can be quite stressful. If that experience was a good example of the way you might expect to feel all of the time, then only a sadist would pursue a creative family lifestyle.

That early experience is not indicative of that way you will be living every day. You will adjust to your new lifestyle.

For many people, their new creative family lifestyle requires a transition to a slower pace of life. If you have been living a go-go life for many years, even if you are quite tired of that life, you will find the transition a difficult one at first. You may discover yourself cursing others in your new environment whose emotional systems have already adjusted to a new, slower pace of life. They just putt along. They get in your way. Don’t they know that you have a life? Places to go and people to see?

Adjustment can take years. But you just have to hang in there. You may not believe it now, but if this new creative family lifestyle that you have chosen is the right one for you, in a reasonably short time you will never again consider returning to your old life. That is how extreme the impact of making this kind of lifestyle change can have on you.

Your priorities will change. You may rekindle old interests that you had forgotten you had. Old talents may resurface. Or you may discover parts of you that you never knew existed – and that you like very much.

You may find that you actually like spending “quality” time with those closest to you. You had just never given your relationships a chance.

And one day, somebody with “a life,” who is too busy to slow down, will be cursing you for being a slow poke, and getting in their way. At that moment, you will know that you have arrived.

Congratulations!

All the best,

Hugh

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