I’ve been accused of thinking too much, about too many things. For some folks that may be true. Certainly it’s not the only way to go through life. But thinking is a way of living that works for me — even if my poor wife sometimes finds herself exhausted by it.
I realized yesterday that some of what has recently been on my mind relates to the publication of a 75 year long study at Harvard about aging. I knew nothing of the study until yesterday, but in it, relationships figure as leading contributors to human happiness. I’m not sure should have taken 75 years to ‘prove’ or illustrate that, but who am I to second-guess Harvard scholars? To me, it seems obvious. 😏 The data behind the conclusions open all sorts of other questions — and that is where my brain has been stuck — as it mired in axle deep mud.
It’s the underlying factors that I’ve been muddling about. Not so much ‘relationships’ as how change impacts our identity, our goals, and our relationships. RV’ers in particular face the reality of constantly changing relationships; it’s built into our lifestyle.
The topic of recent posts has been about planning for change, planning amid change, and changing our plans. All of our decisions fit inside of our lives. They are not appendages that we tack onto our life, they become integral parts of who we are. A single decision alters the course of one’s life; but as soon as you act upon that decision you are no longer the person you were before the decision. The decision itself changes you. Thinkers like Joshua Knobe have launched off from the Harvard study to consider the impact of what the study reveals. And here is Knobe’s predicament:
If the person you will be in 30 years — the person for whom
you plan your life now by working toward career goals and
putting money aside in retirements plans — is invariably
different from the person you are today, what makes that
future person “you”? What makes them worthy of your present
self’s sacrifices and considerations?
When Peg and I faced up to retirement RV’ing was not immediately on our mind. This is not a lifestyle we had planned for; it was not even the first post-employment scheme we thought about. RV’ing — and full time RV’ing — is an idea that morphed it’s way into our minds over a period of months. Just as RV’ing wasn’t our original plan, we consider and abandon a lot of other plans as we go through life. Each considered plan is based on knowledge at a given point in life; each abandoned plan results from further knowledge not available at the point the plan was considered. Life is about change and we are doing our best to embrace change.
The idea that we plan for years for a particular kind of retirement — and when we reach that point it may turn out not to be the thing for us — presents some real dilemnas. No one can really know what you’re going to want to do when you are 40 year older. I wonder, sometimes, if some of those who are plunking down bucks for a new RV today are doing so based on a lifelong dream that may not be what they really want or need today. I know I have gotten stuck in my idea of what is supposed to happen at certain junctures in life and what was supposed to happen simply wasn’t going to materialize. Times had changed. We had changed. Values had changed.
I know I’ve said this before, but we got into RV’ing at a time that was financially right for us. I’m not sure that if I wanted to go out and start this RV lifestyle all over again that we could afford to do. Values of equipment have changed. What we bought as a starter coach would cost a great deal more money today; if we tried to buy similar relative age and similar relative condition. I’m glad we got in when we did. We have loved our time on the road and we’re in no hurry to end it!
I’m sure as we go along to our next location, and after that to another location that we’ll enjoy each step along the way. I expect that returning to Milwaukee yet another 5 months after leaving it as residents we’ll see even more that has changed since we set off on this journey. More will have happened that we like; more will have happened that we dislike; how we feel about Milwaukee as a possible final stopping point will change again, and again.
Visiting S. Texas this year we’ll have another chance to see how we like it. We might find that we’re ‘hooked’ or we might find that one visit was lovely, the second visit proves to be tedious, and a third visit isn’t in the cards for us. We don’t know the outcome. And I don’t want to pre-judge how I’m going to feel. I don’t want to LOOK FOR any outcome. Life doesn’t have to be ONE way. Life doesn’t have to be some OTHER way. The fact is, life should be just what it is.
Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be here tomorrow, how about you?