Yesterday a coworker offered the second bedroom in his apartment to me which had just become vacant. The apartment is furnished so I walked in with my clothes and there was a proper bed and dresser waiting for me. Unpacking my two hampers of clothes into the dresser and hanging up a couple shirts in the closet felt extremely odd after living out of my car for the last 6 months. Knowing that everything is organized, that I don't have to worry about whether I am going to be accosted in the middle of the night for parking in the wrong spot and having a bathroom available without necessitating parking in a Walmart lot was nice; however, I also couldn't escape the feeling that something inside me has changed from my experience.
I don't know where I will be after the middle of May (very likely back in my van) but I now know that I can make a wide variety of situations work. The last 6 months have bent and formed my brain like a bonsai tree that given some time, can form itself into something new - the core structure still being the same. One of my greatest fears in the past has been to be homeless and alone but now it doesn't plague me. Granted I'm wasn't literally on the street but I wasn't living the conventional lifestyle of most 1st world citizens and that pressure is gone from me. I honestly think that my constant stress of worrying for years about failing and becoming destitute was what caused my lactose intolerance because I keep testing it out and I'm still not reacting to dairy products.
What I felt when unpacking was like I had taken a highlighter to the last epoch as if to say "you may enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle for now but this experience has changed you permanently." I don't know that everyone should live in their cars and take baths in lakes or behind closed gas stations but challenging yourself is how you grow. Knowing what extent I can push myself to is extremely freeing and makes me look forward to the next set of challenges in my life because I know I can handle it.