Is it possible to be retired for almost 6 years before you really retire? I think so. More than that: I seem to be living it.
If you are one of the few who have follows us from the beginning there will be a bit of repetition here but I’ll try to keep it to a minimum.
As we approached retirement we made the decision to buy an RV. After that our life took on a great sense of direction:
- Pick up the RV
- Plunge wholeheartedly into downsizing and sell our house
- Pack our belongings into the RV and leave when we had a firm offer on the house
- RV for 1/2 a year until it became apparent that the initial sale was not going to happen
- Move back into a completely empty house (meaning obtaining minimal furniture to make the house salable)
- Return to the RV once we had the sale finalized
- Enjoy the RV lifestyle, primarily staying in one place for 2 weeks and then moving on.
- Try a just a few volunteering gigs where we were in one location for up to 10 months.
- Try a few RV park stays for 1 to 4 months.
In 5 1/2 years we have only stayed at 5 private RV parks. The rest of our time we spent at State and Federal parks/properties and we enjoyed those stays the most of all. Most of our time was spent at sites with electric hookups and no water or septic connections. Most of that time we had to move every 14 days or fewer.
Clearly, there wasn’t a lot of time that we didn’t have to be thinking about where we were going next. Oh, not 24/7, it’s not that hard to make travel plans; but with a schedule where you are moving frequently you find yourself pulling into a new place, and spending much of the time there learning about where you are, checking out the things to be done, exploring the things you learn about. Finding new grocery stores every couple weeks isn’t as easy as it sounds and the adjustment with each move was significant. You get into the “RV state of mind” and you stay there.
When we arrived here in November and surprised ourselves by buying a house here at Palmdale RV Resort we had no idea what the impact would be on our thought processes. We knew we were ready and willing to make the change in lifestyle but I don’t think either of us could have imagined how it would affect the way we think.
There is a difference for us in what RV’ing has meant to our lifestyle. We are different people (duh) and I don’t speak for how Peggy copes. It’s not my place to do that. But for myself, I do the planning and the driving so there are some ways in which since retiring I haven’t really ever had time when I was just ‘being.’ With that frequent 2 week move cycle plans were always floating around in my head. When we were in a place for longer period of time it was usually my job to make day-trip suggestions so even then I was looking ahead to what was coming.
The fact that Peggy — who had done the lesser travel during our earlier life — got to a point where her list of places she wanted to go had shrunk down to virtually nothing meant that I could enjoy the luxury of just being. And it’s been a revelation. I’m enjoying different things now that I ever have; I’m content not to have to go places — that was never the case for me; my mind is filled with different ideas than I’ve had in a long time and now that I’ve pretty much recovered from our summer of camp hosting I’m enjoying being around people again. As much as I like the idea of volunteering I have found that an on-site gig that keeps me busy 20-40 hours a week is way more than I’m interested in anymore. We had thought (before the house purchase) about returning to Highland Ridge for another summer. But now, I am willing to admit that would have been a mistake. It took me 4 or 5 months to decompress from the last summer there. We didn’t have that many obligations but it was just too many people for too long — for me. Others handle it fine, but I overdosed.
I have thought a little about what we might do in the summer of ’18. Surprise, surprise! But that is the only real future thoughts I’ve had; and the ideas I’ve been contemplating are because the trip I’m considering is the one we didn’t take in the coach. Doing it by car may be much easier and it’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
Aside from that my travel planner is empty. Much to the dismay of our daughter who loves to plan her trips to visit and to do so months in advance. Fortunately with Melanie’s wedding momma has her Daytimer booked solid and she hasn’t had much time to think about our next meet up! Earlier in our stay when Kathryn was planning the February visit I’m sure I caused her no end of consternation because I wasn’t keeping up with the various iterations of her plan — but all I really needed to know was the last version — so I didn’t need to be thinking about what would happen weeks in the future. And, to be quite honest, I was glad — I was tired of planning.
I find myself willing to sit in a lawn chair and just be. Not for long; but longer than I’ve ever done before. I’ve talked about the months ago — and I thought I was doing well then — but in the interim I realize how much more I have changed. I end up in my office and whereas in the past I would have been busy all the time, now I even lean back in my comfy desk chair and just think. It’s a lovely luxury. At the pool in the afternoons I don’t need to be talking all the time; most of the time I’m quite content to float & bob whilst thinking; I never run out of things to think about — there are world problems, there are miracles around us every day, the flower change by the day, the birds change by the hour — this is an amazing place this earth we live on and I never cease to be amazed by the simplest things — just because they ARE so simple and I am not.
I have no idea where this new place is going to take me. I know I am of mixed feelings about activities. On one hand I want to find a way to be more a part of the community here — in a way that’s comfortable for me — and at the same time I have stopped thinking about volunteering for the organizations I have considered in the past. Last summer taught me important lessons.
Bottom line, though, is that we are both content. And contentment hasn’t been a common word in our vocabulary. We have enjoyed our life but in the same way that I don’t talk about being proud of certain things so also contentment isn’t a word I use easily. I am goal oriented and I have always wanted goals and objectives. If I didn’t have them, I made them. Not so much now. I’m not sure I’m at the place where I can yet say I don’t miss them. But I’m getting closer.
Perhaps that’s why I’m so looking forward to this summer and the idea of spending it in the heat of South Texas. It’s going to be completely different: weather, population, pace, idleness — I can’t wait. It may be the only summer we spend here, or it may be the beginning of many — we have no preference or foresight — but it’s exciting to face a prospect so completely different to our past.
In the past my being, seeing, doing pyramid has been upside down. I don’t think I’m too old to try living with that pyramid right side up. I’m going to give it a try anyway….