How Jeep Therapy Helped Me Get Through My Silent Struggle
The Perfect Storm hit me out of nowhere about eight years ago. Growing closer to that half century mark, my body and hormones where changing and I didn’t realize depression was setting in. My two amazing kids were growing older becoming more independent and not needing me like they once did. I had been immersed in my dream life of a mini-van mom, classroom parent helper, PTA president, scout leader, soccer mom and 24/7 all things mom, a dream I had for years, finding it finally in my 30’s. Then suddenly, it all stopped one day. I was left with an utter feeling of despair and emptiness with no direction. It was like I was in a deep dark hole with no way out.
My friend group consisted of other “Soccer Mom’s” whom I felt I didn’t fit in with. I didn’t share the same hobbies or interests, but at the same time wasn’t sure what my interests and hobbies were. I paused my former life for a long time. My life was dedicated to my children attending sporting events, weekend scouting events, helping with homework, attending educational meetings, and mom’s nights out where all we did was talk about our kids.
Deep down I knew I wasn’t meant to conform to the expectation of the outside world and this was the kind of life I was trying live for many years. I was lost within myself. Then one day I woke up realizing I didn’t want to be that competitive, helicopter mom anymore. My kids needed to live there own life, make their own decisions, and I needed to find ME! But how to accomplish that became a conflict within me for a long time. I silently struggled for three years with not only that question, but with a changing body and fluctuating hormones. My life felt like it was on hold with no direction; unhappy and lonely.
My Jeep Therapy
Then one day a tiny light streamed into that hole. Unsuspectingly and unknowingly, one small moment changed my life, it actually saved my life. A dad was transporting several boys to a camping event that we were also attending. Before they headed out, the dad got out of his Jeep Wrangler Sport to do something to the top of his Jeep. At the time I had no idea what he was doing, and we drove right by him. Once at the destination the kids in the topless Jeep were beaming with smiles, sharing exciting wind in your hair, sun in your face stories. There was also a lot of jubilant repeated recollections of all the cool Jeep waves they received and gave. I was instantly curious and inspired.
That following weekend sitting in our favorite Mexican restaurant after listening to hours, no days, of me talking about the Jeep, my son asked Siri to find the nearest Jeep dealer. The next day I was on a test drive with a brand new Jeep Wrangler Sahara instantly hooked. I became an owner of a brand new black 2013 Jeep Wrangler Sahara that same day.
I remember asking the salesman about the Rubicon package. However, I immediately waved him off when I found out it sported the off-road package, replying with “I will never go off road”. Little did I know on that fateful day in May as I drove my brand new black Jeep off the lot I was on a new path, the road less driven path. The beginning of an amazing Jeep journey that would change my life.
My Blog – JeepMomma.com
Just days after becoming a new Jeep owner, my friend, neighbor and mom blogger suggested I start my own blog about my new journey with my Jeep and being a mom. So this new Jeep addiction began to grow in so many ways. My journey turned into a search to dig deep down to find my passion and what makes me happy. I began taking care of myself physically and mentally. I put myself out there and began to try new things. A lot of the times it was by myself because no one else I knew was interested in joining me.
After starting my blog I realized I needed social media to help promote my blog. New to the social media scene I didn’t realize what was coming down the pike. A whole new world I didn’t know existed opened up with a flood.
There was an addicted group of like minded Jeep owners like myself out there that spurred on my addiction, but also gave me a sense of belonging. New friendships formed. Friendships I know will last my lifetime These friendships are unlike any other I have ever had, especially the Jeep Women. I have been welcomed with open arms and kindness. I am free to be me and accepted without judgement, and I don’t feel that catty competition with life nor kids. It has been nothing but a positive experience with these like-minded women (and Jeep men) who share a passion for off-roading, the outdoors and all things Jeep.
Not only friendships developed but a need to make my Jeep unique to me after seeing all those pictures of so many different Jeeps and all the possibilities of modifications. I began making small changes to my Jeep like floor mats and steering wheel covers. That blossomed into more difficult modification such as bumpers and off road lights. I made these modifications by myself with the positive encouragement from other Jeepers telling me I could do it and I did. With absolutely no experience in the garage I installed my own front and rear bumper, rock sliders, skid plate and off road lights.
YouTubing With a Jeep
Then there were the YouTube videos which formed a new exciting hobby. That salesman back on the lot where I bought my Jeep was probably laughing under his breath when I said I will never off road. Only a year later in 2014 I traded my Sahara for a 2015 Rubicon. It was hard leaving my Sahara but I was looking forward to that Off-Road package I dismissed just a year before.
Off-Roading became my new hobby which I completely enjoy and yearn for. It has given me the confidence in myself in so many different ways. I love this white knuckle adventure in the outdoors.
A little over a year ago I planned a vacation with my sister to hike in the Utah National Parks and a little wheeling too. It turned out she wasn’t able to make it but my addiction for all things Jeep wasn’t going to let that stop me. I headed out to Moab, Utah for an adventure of a lifetime. Those 2 days on the trails are ones I will never forget. I was able to again meet some amazing new friends, conquer my fear of heights and wheel some of the most famous trails in the world. I am confident Moab won’t just be a one time adventure of a lifetime because I will get back there!
Jeepers on social media are a different breed. For the most part Jeepers welcome you into their arms with kindness and acceptance. I found one of those groups out of the Carolinas. They invited me to their Spring Uwharrie Invasion weekend in the Uwharrie National Forest in North Carolina. Heading out on a six hour drive to camp and wheel with people you’ve never met in person could be intimidating and scary but knowing they are Jeepers I knew it would be an amazing weekend and it was! Again Uwharrie won’t be a once in a lifetime event. I am already planning to go back to wheel with my new friends!
The Jeep Talk Show
My Jeep not only lead me to new found friendships but other new opportunities as well. The folks at the Jeep Talk Show Podcast requested an interview with me about my newfound love of my Jeep and off-roading. That interview turned into a co-host spot on the podcast. That was three years ago, and I still enjoy sharing my experience on the show to this day.
ME – And My Jeep
These past six years have been a journey of re-discovering me, searching for my passion, realizing life isn’t about the stuff you have, but experiences. It has been so good for my soul and my self-esteem. Buying my Jeep Wrangler five years ago turned into discovering a wonderful accepting Jeep community and a spectacular Jeep Life. This new path in my life has brought so much joy and new found friendships all over the country.
My Jeep has helped gain the confidence I needed to realize I am a strong women who can do anything I put my mind to. A garage isn’t just for the guys! A friend who helped me overcome my fear of heights while on the entrance to Hell’s Revenge in Moab told me “You’ve Got This”. Those are words I live by today, every time I begin to doubt myself “I’ve Got This”!
My Jeep has also guided me to my passion again that goes all the way back to 4th grade. A passion I sadly lost in my youth, but found once again, my creativity. Back then I let some mean girls who made fun of my creative writing dictate my life by me putting down my pencil. It may not be the pencil I picked back up but when my fingers hit the keyboard and I see the words on the screen I smile to myself. My blog, JeepMomma.com, started out as a weekly diary of sorts and now has blossomed into so much more. Most recently I have ramped up the videos on my Jeep Momma YouTube channel producing at least one a week. The positive response has been encouraging and inspiring.
Need Therapy? Maybe You, Too, Should Try Jeeping
My hope is for others to follow me on this crazy journey as I uncover more of my passion and search for a fulfilling new career while balancing my family life and my life. My life now is about new discovery of myself and trying to live My Best Life. During this search I have learned so much about myself realizing simplifying and minimalism has made me happier and made more time for the things I enjoy. My Jeep is more than a tool to get from point a to point b. It has become part of me, part of my soul. I strive to simplify and enjoy every moment I am on this earth. One day I hope my gifts and purpose will be an inspiration to the world or maybe just one person! Keep on Jeeping!