We all have our own rhythms. They are natural to us individually, but are subject to influence by where we live. Some faster; others slower; each unique. Now that we have been in S. Texas for a week and a half I’m finally starting to feel normalized again. We have yet to make up our minds about camp hosting next summer, but the longer we are away from it the more I’m inclined to think that last summer may have been our last volunteer gig for a long while. I may just be ready to be retired. 🤔❤️
Social Scientists — sometimes I wonder if that’s really a ‘thing’ — have done studies about the pace of individual cities. They say they have identified unique rhythms to which the citizens of specific cities move: New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Paris. I doubt they’ve studied Ottumwa Iowa or Los Fresnos Texas but I’m willing to bet that those rhythms are equally applicable in smaller communities as well. I know I feel them; people joke about them; we fall into them without much effort.
“Pace” is part of what we’ve been looking for as part of our full-timer lifestyle. I think the pace of Florida had a lot to do with our distaste for the state as a longterm winter destination. Florida seems too frenetic for me.
Pace is why our first visit to South Texas seemed to natural to us. I suspect it’s also why we are back for another winter, instead of having making our intended Desert Southwest trip this year. We will still do that — make a trip to the desert Southwest; but the longer we RV the more I suspect we’ll conclude after visiting that it just isn’t the right place for us. I think we’ve gotten to the point that we know that water is too important to us to want to spend winters in the desert. It may be beautiful, and goodness knows that S. Texas can be pretty dry too — but we’re half an hour away from the Gulf and all that good Gulf seafood — we can get a water “fix” any time we choose!
When we arrived at Highland Ridge the idea of a routine was quite encouraging. We hadn’t volunteered for fully 2 years and we were looking forward to it. I was wanting to lose some weight (if that was actually a “choice” — it might be that the doctor scared the bejesus out of me) and having a place were we could get our regular exercise while doing our chores was really appealing. But by the end of the summer the routine wasn’t nearly as appealing — or should we say that the rhythm didn’t seem natural to us. We didn’t have a lot of chores to do, but the chores we had almost always seemed to occur at the wrong times of the day for us. By the time we left, we had it with routine.
If you remember anything about how I have described myself you’ll know that I am just that way. In general, lifelong, I have abhorred routine. The fact that periodically I may welcome it for a short while is one of those bits of irrational aberrant behavior that we all exhibit occasionally. So, I’m not surprised that it feels so good to be back on our own pace without a ticking clock to say, “Time to do something.”
And perhaps that’s why I’ve been straining to relax. We ended up having to remain in Milwaukee this year longer than I would have preferred. Also now that we’ve been sitting still for a few days I am realizing that while I liked the travel routine (travel, spend a couple nights in one place, then travel again) on our way South I think a couple simple overnights along the way aren’t that bad of an idea. Maybe it was the PLACES we chose to stop (that I didn’t like); but I don’t think we’ll do that route again at that time of year.
We’re thinking that when the time comes to head North out of the Rio Grande Valley we might go by way of the West. We’ve made reservations at Big Bend National Park for 5 nights this Spring in anticipation, and we are thinking that we might go as far as Tucson (which Peggy has never seen) before heading back to Wisconsin for the summer. We have almost 2 months from the end of our reservation here before our likely summer site is available, we can snoop around a little without committing to an entire winter season. That sounds like something we’d do — go check it out before committing to it. My Folks (our family’s affectionate term for “parents”) were always taking Dry Runs. Heck, they drove from Milwaukee to Minneapolis on a dry run because in a few weeks they were going to have to go there to pick up visiting friends from England and at the time had no idea how long it would take — so, what the heck — hop in the car and make a “dry run.” 🤔
We’re getting settled into a routine-less-routine. Gradually I’m learning to sleep-in just a little — I’ve adjusted my bedtime a little — skewing it later so that I’m sleeping a little later (no 4:00 a.m. wakeups in a few day! Hooray!) We’ve been getting out for a 2 mile walk most every morning before breakfast (when it’s not raining) and have been feeling good about that. We’re still on what amounts to 2 meals a day with an evening snack and that has felt good — we sort of fell into that early in our retirement and it’s stuck. No heavy meals before bedtime; lessened issues with GERD; I’ve been sleeping better — though poor Peggy still has her bouts with insomnia.
It’s funny how different places can make a person feel so different. In our case we are the same people; we eat mostly the same foods (with a few regional exceptions); we do mostly the same things (when left to our own devices); and yet locale makes a huge difference in our rhythm. In retrospect, during our stay in Milwaukee we seemed to spend a lot more time shopping — was that because we didn’t have access to stores in Highland Ridge? I don’t know. In Highland Ridge we spent a lot of time not going anywhere — it just felt homey and we didn’t feel the NEED to leave the campground even though we always could sneak out for a few hours if we wanted. Here we seem to have a dozen or so attractions that call out to us and we visit regularly. Then there is the fact that we don’t know much about Texas and last time here we took the opportunity and made several overnight trips to explore nearby areas. We did sort of the same in Florida last winter — using Ocala as our hub and roaming out from our central location to check out various attractions and alternate destinations.
We seem to spend a couple or few days at home — in the RV park — then go for a day or two. That feels right. It feels natural. I’ll do some chores around the house, or fix something that suddenly stopped working — but I can manage to be relaxed about repairs. Unless it’s water running, or a non-functioning refrigerator/heater/air conditioner — other things get noticed and eventually get fixed but after babysitting an apartment complex with tenants I’m finally learning to let little things go and not have to attend to them instantaneously. That has been a struggle all the way through retirement: learning to relax. learning a new more natural pace. It’s been here all along; I’ve just felt compelled to have to violate it!
As I write there are raindrops on the window. I’m not going to take a morning walk today. Peggy has learned to let me be for a couple hours in the morning to get my mental feet under me and and get ready to function in the world. But on this rainy morning the empty lot behind us that is being developed is bare of workers. There are huge piles of earth that are being trucked in as landfill and those piles are just sitting there — no one is working, it’s raining. In South Texas people are more willing to STOP working for a variety of reasons (including the high heat) than seems to be the case up North. I like that. I like that people listen to the dictates of Momma Nature! Farmers have always had to do so — but us City Dwellers seem to ignore Momma Nature and we inflict our pace on her — or we think we do — or we try. But Momma is strong and she doesn’t pay much attention to us little humans.
I’m going to finish up and make breakfast now. I could look up to the corner of the computer to see what time it is, but the fact is I don’t really care what time it is. We put whatever TV programs we actually care about watching onto a timer so the channel switches to them whether the TV is turned on or not. If I’m tired the afternoon I take a nap — if I’m not, I don’t. I’m embracing different bedtimes and different rising times. I’ve never been really tuned into time. While deadlines were always a part of my working life I’ve never been all that excited about the passage of time, or how old I am, or how long we’ve owned something, or when someone’s birthday might be (although I do have a pretty decent memory for such things — fact of the matter is that most of the time I don’t CARE about them).
I don’t know what my personal pace is like. It’s slower than Kathryn’s — we keep finding that out. Peggy & I seem to get along well on a pace that’s similar or complimentary — I’m not sure which of those is the case. There other afternoon we were at the pool with a bunch of the other residents and they were all talking about what time this happened and what time that happened and I zoned out. I spent too much of my life worrying about times and deadlines. I really don’t care anymore about what time something happens.
When it’s “time” to leave here we’ll wake up in the morning and start getting ready to leave. I’ll stow the automatic satellite antenna and then start up my Silverleaf and our GPS. Then we’ll go through the details of our pre-trip checklist and when we’re finished we’ll crank up the engine, air up our air-suspension, raise our leveling jacks and leave. We won’t really care what time that will be — it will just happen. It’s what we do, it’s who we are, it’s how we live.
Maybe that’s the benefit of being a couple for 48 years — after all our anniversary IS approaching late in December. Life is easy between us; we don’t need words for many things — we just know what the other wants (or doesn’t want); I’m sure we have altered each other’s rhythms. That would be expected. And they continue to be easy, comfortable, just what life should be.
Well, there you have our Thursday. It’s the second morning after the election right now. I only had to have one conversation yesterday about the election. That was nice. I’m hoping “this new guy” turns out to be a great President. Frankly I have my doubts but to pray for anything other than a whiz-bang great President is to wish this country trouble and strife which we don’t need. So, I’m going to be optimistic. And heck, if he screws up, or if the Republicans who now control Senate, and House, and President — well, if the Republicans can’t get off their duff and start doing something after 8 years of obstructionism — well, then I’m sure the country will do something different in 4 years. They have their chance — let’s see what they have! For better or worse we’re all in this together and frankly I don’t see why anyone WANTS the job of President. It’s a guarantee no-win position. And my ego’s not THAT big.
Thanks for stopping, check in tomorrow to see what’s up cuz I’m sure I’ll be here and I always like to hear for you.