Untightening Overtightened Springs


I had no idea, while we were RV’ing around the country, just how much time I was spending getting ready to go, or to arrive, or deciding what was coming next.  I know I have written several posts about this same topic but it seems that weekly I have experiences that highlight even more how much I got caught up in the process of RV’ing.

I’m not saying that as a negative, or to deter anyone else from taking up the RV lifestyle.  I’m simply coming to realize what it did to me, and perhaps no one else in the world.

“In-the-manner-of” full time RV’ing there were a number of details, or steps, or projects connected with getting OFF the road as full-timers that I had lined up in my head.  We arrived at Palmdale last year in November.  We were still full time RV’ers and although we had talked about coming off the road we had done nothing other than talk.  The decision to actually go inside this mobile home which has become our temporary landing place became the first stepping stone for oujr tip-toe journey across the creek of transition.  And from the time we went from talking to deciding I lined up a long string of co-incidental events that I foresaw happening:  buying the house, selling the RV, settling in,  deciding what to do about the car, ascertaining whether Texas could become a real home, and many many more.

This past week I realized that I had finally reached the end of my long string of interrelated events.  For the first time since last November I could say there wasn’t anything that I had concerns about whether it would work out in a timely fashion.

That’s not to say we/I don’t have future plans — far from it (if you only knew).  But what lies ahead is seen with greater clarity and with less …. risk?  I’m not sure that’s the right word for what I’m thinking.  Suffice it to say I can face our future goals and plans with greater confidence.

Why am I writing about this?

Well, for one reason I think it’s good that we talk about the fact that just because we get older that does not mean we have the world figured out and we can go through it without worries or fears.  No matter how confident or talented/skilled we are there is always uncertainty in life; admitting that and facing it is crucial to success.  Otherwise we give up.

Another reason is that just because we’re older that doesn’t mean that all our plans are going to work out the way we visualize them — and sometimes we have to admit that our plan is full of baloney, and change the plan.  Plans are just that — they aren’t yet reality.  Plans are good; but intractability in the face of complications is foolish; the only person we hurt by pursuing impossible plans is ourself.  Pride is a stupid taskmaster.

You know how some people make notes and lists?  That’s something I rarely do; not because I have a super memory — I forget as much as anyone else and some of my projects have gotten into that forgotten-about-corner-of-my-brain for weeks and months.  Rather, I choose not to write down most projects in a list because I want the list to remain fluid — I want to be able to look at my goals and objectives from the point of view of the most-recent-moment, not from a time days or weeks ago when I thought something should be more important than it is proving to be.  We can accomplish this in a variety of ways — my way happens to be by not writing lists — but other people use different tools to the same end.

This past week I found myself approaching this last-major stepping stone across the river of transition knowing that it was an end point.  I don’t know about you but I relish accomplishment.  The idea that something I had envisioned, and planned, and carried out is finally finished is a huge ego boost for me; it’s a real reinforcer of the idea that I can accomplish what I need to — no matter the time it takes to get to the goal.  This week was the light at the end of the tunnel for me. I know that we’ll be entering another tunnel soon — but for now I saw the light, I approached the light, and one bright morning I emerged out of the tunnel into bright sunshine.  Boy that felt good!

I enjoyed our RV’ing time.  Those 5+ years were among the best of my life, and of our marriage.  It would have been a mistake for the two of us not to have taken the gamble that is downsizing and selling our home, buying an RV, and heading down the road of an undefined future.  It would also be a mistake for us not to pay attention to our aging bodies and insist on staying with a plan we made 6 years ago.  Pride now is more likely to end up with one or both of us in the grave years earlier than necessary and no matter our faith in God we value this life on earth and we’re not in a huge hurry to end it.

When we were on the road we gave tacit approval to the idea that while RV’ing your mind is completely on RV’ing.  At any moment you can have problems with the RV itself — leaks, broken parts, unavailable reservations, traffic jams, too-small sites, you name it.  You are at the mercy of Mother Nature in ways that sticks & bricks livers never think about.  A heavy storm spent in an oversized tin can be terrifying — it can also be quite pleasant — all depending on where you’re parked and your frame of mind.

How tightly are YOU wound?
I could not anticipate how much RV’ing would take over my brain before it did it.  And now that I’m not RV’ing any more it has literally taken me half a year to get to this point when I have peeled layer after layer of tension away from my living.  One detail at a time has come to my attention and I have had to realize I don’t have to do that anymore, or think about that, or plan for that.  You’d think that just stopping would be an end to it all.  But dreams are wonderful ways of revealing what you’re still stressing about;  it’s a good thing to listen to them and change your life so that those stressors no longer matter.

We can be the captain of our future, or we can be prisoners of our past.  The choice is up to us.  And only us.  Do you have any overtightened springs that might just need to be loosened?

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