Guest Post by Mark Whitten
Consistency in looking for different angles on life . . .
That's what I know about Mark Whitten. And that's why I asked him to share his latest story of Different here at Different on Purpose.
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So you want to do life differently?
Chart a new course?
Be brave again?
Drag yourself out of a depressed state?
But not comfortable.
If you’re bound to a certain level of comfort and ease, this article may not be for you. However, if you’re sick and tired of being . . . well . . . read on.
In 2018, my wife Julie told me we were going to have our sixth child. Surprise is all I have to say.
I was 42, our youngest at the time was 7, and we were well on our way to being empty-nesters in about 10 years (we try to nudge our eaglets out of the nest just as soon as they can flap their wings). But as an ancient Proverb says, “Many are the plans of a man’s heart, but…”
Nevertheless, instead of tacking another 7 years onto our 10-year plan to finally be "free'" we decided to make free happen regardless of how many children we had in tow.
So we sold out.
Twenty-two beautiful acres and a homestead in Tennessee (the perfect TEOTWAKI*, backwoods, bug-out location, set high on a ridge with a beautiful view overlooking a picturesque valley, 9 miles to the nearest gas station), gobbled up in a hot real estate market in less than 10 days.
"You have 30 days to move out!"
Two barns, vehicles, trailer, ATV, motorcycle, mowers, power tools, hound dog, cat, . . .
Where are we going to go?
I dunno . . .
Mountains or beach?
Julie is a beach gal. . . . She won.
We sold and gave away as much as we could and left our lives (job, business, church, family, friends, even children—the older ones who didn’t want to follow) in Tennessee to chase The Wild Goose.
No, we didn’t know where we were going to land.
We didn’t have jobs or a home waiting for us when we arrived where we were heading; in fact, we didn’t know exactly where we were heading till the U-Haul was packed to the gills,
and we were well on our way. We did secure an Airbnb for 10 days en route, in case you’re wondering.
Now, before you get bored (or enamored) by our adventure, you must know that I am NOT a spontaneous gypsy-esque soul—especially with a wife, an infant and an 7-year-old along for the ride. I'm a planner. I like things to be well-thought-out and fairly predictable. But . . .
. . . we were in a terrible rut and needed to shock the system.
What’s my point in all of this?
If you want to do life differently, chart a new course, be brave again, and/or drag yourself out of a depressed state, then SOMETIMES and I mean only SOMEtimes, you need to shock the system.
You need to uproot and GO.
Get on the bike and start pedaling.
Stagnation occurs when there is no movement.
The Dead Sea is the richest mineral body of water in the world. But it has no life in it, because it has no movement and no outlet.
If you find yourself in a swamp, try paddling out to find the river.
The remedy for you might be to RELOCATE. That’s right. Get out of Dodge. GO ye therefore!
(Disclaimer: This word is NOT for everyone.
But whoever it is for should be getting tingly sensations right about now.)
Relocating is a sure fire way to DO THINGS DIFFERENT. It stirs the pot, gets your motor running, activates eustress (the good kind of stress), engages your body and mind in ways that have lain dormant for years, and forces you to make decisions you would normally avoid.
But be warned.
It’s not a honeymoon at an all-inclusive resort. Relocating your life is more like an extended camping trip—tent camping at that, and in the rain.
Funny, though, how the times we rough-it or a suffer a little together bring about the most memorable moments in our lives.
Back to our story . . .
After 10 days at our Airbnb, we thought we had found a condo to rent. But just before move-in, the landlord backed out of the contract because we didn’t "have jobs."
(Hint: It’s probably best to have a significant amount of money saved
or a way to prove income before you skip town.)
Thankfully, we had made out well on the sale of our homestead and were able to get into an awesome apartment after 2 weeks in another Airbnb.
And after that . . . we had the most amazing year of our lives.
We met new people; re-connected with some old friends; lived in the eternal summer of sunny South Florida; traveled in the Caribbean; ate some delish foods, worked on our marriage, loved-on each other, made some disciples, and learned a lot about forgiveness, hope, faith, and love.
It never would have happened if we hadn’t . . . sold out.
If we hadn’t decided to GO.
So, if you’re in need of a radical shift. One remedy is to relocate.
If it’s a total failure, you can always move back, with some incredible lessons learned and a bit more bravery in your tool belt.
PS. We did it again when our lease was up a year later!
Now we’re loving our new place in the Florida panhandle.
(Julie, still got her beaches. . . . I guess the mountains will have to wait.)
*Acronym for The End Of The World As We Know It.
**Photo credit: Dominika Roseclay from Pexels.
Wow! I just got interviewed by one of my favorite bloggers in the do-life-different space. Have a listen to Lisa Jansen's podcast episode "Country Life with 8 Children"!
(To get weekly ideas and action steps for doing Different, subscribe to this blog—
and get a free copy of my e-book, Better than Perfect.)