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The Most Powerful Lesson I Learned Last Year and How it Changed My Life

The last 18 months have been the craziest, hardest, strangest, yet most exciting of my life. Lindsay and I have gone through an unbelievable period of change and transformation. Where we sit today, and the life that we are pursuing would have been left to Instagram hashtags or magazines only several months ago. So much of our transformation has been the result of a single lesson that we learned. It’s nothing revolutionary, but it has been so instrumental and powerful in our lives that I wanted to dedicate this entire post to it. For certain, I know we would not be where we are at today without living with this lesson in mind.

It’s pretty basic – I’m definitely not Socrates or Plato, but here is this life lesson in all its glory:

Almost nothing in life is permanent, and it’s okay to make a change, even if it’s the wrong decision.

That’s it. Simple yet beautifully effective. No decision that you make (or don’t make) is so profound that it cannot be reversed or modified in some way. This simple concept has freed me and Lindsay to make bold decisions that have greatly affected the trajectory of our lives. It’s the fundamental premise behind Follow Your Detour. You are free to follow your detours because you can always course correct if it turns out to be a bad detour. One detour will lead to the next if you are willing to follow it. 

How This Lesson Has Changed Our Lives

It started 18 months ago when we first discovered what a detour is. After several years of trying to start a family, Lindsay and I were told that we would never be able to have a biological child together. It was a trying time, and you can read all about it here.

Learning this lesson first began when we decided that after 2 years, we were going to take some time off from trying to have a baby. We had spent so much time, money, and energy on it, that “giving up” without success was really, really hard. But we talked, we prayed, and we finally realized that almost nothing in life is permanent, and it’s okay to make a change, even if it’s the wrong decision. It started to sink in for us. Even though we had invested so much of ourselves into it, there was nothing wrong with coming to a point where we decided that we wanted something different. Just because we were saying no right now didn’t mean we were saying no forever.

We really took this motto to heart when we decided to uproot our entire lives and move to Raleigh, NC in July of 2016. Trying a new city was something we had always desired and discussed, but would quickly brush it under the rug with excuses and fears as to why we “couldn’t” do it.  One day at our home in Parker, CO, we were sitting on the couch and 17 inches of snow had just dumped on our back deck. It was in that moment that we decided to start taking the steps necessary to make a change and try somewhere new. Even just the thought of this change was scary, though. How could we move our entire life to a place we had never been to? What about our house? What about our family? Our jobs? The uncertainties and doubts came flooding in. 

NC here we come!

Like before, we talked, we prayed and eventually determined that moving wasn’t that big of a deal. Don’t get me wrong – it was a huge change and a tremendous amount of effort. Logistically it was very challenging. We had to sell our house, get new jobs, and move all of our stuff to Raleigh in 6 weeks. But, we reminded ourselves that almost nothing in life is permanent and that it’s okay to make a change, even if it’s the wrong decision.

I’m going to repeat that a lot in this post and it may get annoying, but honestly, keeping this in mind freed us to experience the incredible growth and transformation that can come along with change. We knew that if we hated living in Raleigh, and if moving was the wrong decision, we could always come back to Colorado. Moving to Raleigh was not permanent or irreversible. So yes, while it was a big life decision, this motto gave us the courage to follow our detour and try something new.

8 months later, we were loving Raleigh. The move had taught us so much about ourselves. We felt so much pride in being bold enough to take such a risk. We literally felt like we were freed from this fear that had held us back for so long – we felt like we could move anywhere or do anything. Sounds cheesy, but sometimes all it takes is one big step to empower you!

One of our favorite parts about Raleigh was that we took many road trips during Lindsay’s time off work. We went to Hilton Head Island, Savannah, D.C., and to many beach and mountain towns throughout North Carolina. With all the international traveling we’ve done, we realized how much of our own country we hadn’t yet explored. One weekend while in Brevard, North Carolina Lindsay looked at me and said “I don’t want to leave…I wish we could stay here longer!” That very comment brought up a conversation about yet another dream that we had brushed under the rug time and time again. 

This conversation was very different than it had been in the past. Because of our new outlook, we weren’t exchanging the same words of fear and doubt. This time it was more about the fact that we had literally just moved to Raleigh. So the questions we asked ourselves were more like “are we really going to pack up our stuff and move again?” and “its only been 8 months, will people think we are crazy?”. But the more we talked about it, the more we wanted to do it and we quickly starting working out the “hows” and “whens” and forgetting the “what ifs”.

We kept going back to our new motto that nothing is permanent and its okay to make a change, even if it’s the wrong decision. We knew that we’d have a lot of steps to overcome (Lindsay quitting her job, selling most of our possessions, researching and buying a truck and an RV, etc.) But this didn’t scare us – we knew it was a risk but if we hated it, we would figure something else out. Besides, what if we loved it? We wouldn’t know if we didn’t try and at this point, we didn’t have much to lose. Some people might think we “failed” at moving to a new city. We don’t. We tried it and even loved it. We look at Raleigh as a stepping stone to a bigger dream and a whole new way of life. A life that we create ourselves and have the courage to live in whatever crazy way we choose. A life we’re proud of with no regrets. We’d rather live a life full of wrong decisions than never taking any chances.

I can’t believe that we did this…again!

Now we are several weeks into our new life as full-time RVers. In just a short time, we have seen and done so much! I have also learned a ton, and I feel like I have grown tremendously as a person. I can’t tell you for how long we are going to do this – six months, a year, 2 years? I really don’t know. All I do know is that if we continue to live with this life lesson in our hearts, we will continue to be open to all kinds of detours. I hope our story of going from heartache to a domino effect of awesome detours inspires others.

On to new adventures…

What do you think? Does this life lesson resonate with you? Have you ever moved past your fear of something because you realized it’s okay if it was the wrong decision? I’d love to hear your story so please feel free to comment below. If you liked this post, please share!

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7 years ago

“You are free to follow your detours because you can always course correct if it turns out to be a bad detour. One detour will lead to the next if you are willing to follow it.”

Love this post. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and I am so proud of you guys. Can’t wait to see y’all blossom as your adventures continue!