I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” When I look back at some of the times in my life when I was forced to find alternatives, I clearly see that old saying was put to use. Of course I didn’t recognize it during those times, but isn’t that how it usually works? You don’t see things clearly until after the fact. I try to use those memories today to keep my mind focused on solutions instead of dwelling on the problem in front of me.
One of the memories that sticks out loudly is during the time that a semi-truck was my only home for a year. The year was 1993 and my dad was slowly losing his battle with cancer. It was a very distressful time for me, lots of major life changes. I married a guy who I met several years before. Unfortunately, I married him during a time when I was very disconnected with myself and reality, which eventually led to divorce a few years later. My emotional life was extremely unstable and some of the decisions I made, mainly the marriage, were made very hastily. During this chaotic time, I left home while my dad was physically deteriorating and the semi-truck became my new home. I was promised a new house to move into but quickly realized it was only talk. At first, I was disappointed, but after the realization that there was nothing I could do about it, I accepted it. In a way, I saw it as an escape from dwelling on the fact that my dad was dying. Traveling through places I had never been to before was pretty exciting, even though it wasn’t exactly a pleasure trip where you can stop where you want to. One thing that worried me was the fact that I would be doing so much sitting considering I’ve always been such an active person. It actually bothered me quite extensively. I was fearful that I would gain weight and get completely out of shape. You may be wondering how I could be thinking so much of that when my dad was dying. Coming from someone who had dealt with anorexia in previous years, explains it all. I knew I was going to figure out some kind of solution to the problem, and I did. I decided, very quickly, to purchase a small, portable stair stepper that could fit into the side compartment of the truck. It fit, but barely. I brought along a couple of dumbbells and a clock to time myself. Each day when we would find a truck stop to park for the night, I would get all my stuff out beside the truck, and do my workout for an hour. I also decided to purchase a hot/cold cooler. We would stop at grocery stores and stock up on healthy foods to eat instead of eating at the truck stops. A lot of truck stops have added healthy menus, but still not enough variety, and can get expensive. I never gained any weight sitting on that truck for a year, I made sure of it. I had plenty of times when truckers would walk by seeing me workout in between the trucks and just laugh, some would mock me. I also, had a few that gave me a thumbs up. For the ones that laughed, maybe I was the one getting the last laugh considering I was actually doing something healthy for myself and they looked as though they were only a step away from a heart attack, or maybe a stroke.
My whole point to this story is that no matter what situation you may find yourself in, if there’s a will there’s definitely a way. When it feels as though there is no solution, keep looking and you’ll find it. You have a choice, you can either give up or you can find a way to make it work. It all depends on what you really want. It doesn’t matter whether your home is on a truck, in a trailer, or on the streets, if there is any desire left in you to better yourself, that’s all it takes to rise above. Whenever I find myself in a situation that feels hopeless, I often think back to that time on the truck and it immediately gives me the boost and confidence in myself that I need. It propels me into taking action.