Old Diary

Hiatus No More

skotan-No-signI’m done hiatus-ing.

The new Life Unscripted will be a little different but not a whole lot.  I’m still the same person so the writing won’t change much.

What will be different is that I am consciously leaving behind comment on the world of full-time RV’ing in favor of an emphasis on the life we are now living.  That means a focus on what’s happening in our life (mine and Peg’s) — even though we may be going fewer places and seemingly having fewer exciting experiences.  After all, life isn’t all about adventure. Some of it, indeed most of it, is about the hum drum decisions of routine life.  That means coping with changes — changes we aren’t always happy with: in the world, in our families, in our selves, in our health, finances, etc.

The change in emphasis doesn’t seem all that great to you, but it took a significant change to my state of mind to bring it about.  I’m sure it will be worth it — at least it will be for me.  🙂

There are things in this life that are important to me.  Things beyond putting food in my tummy — although that can be exceedingly fun! I want to spend some time talking about those things.  And about how we can cope with a world far larger than any of us can control or even understand.

nr_photo_phb_Winding_Road-3

Life is getting ever more complicated. We face challenges as individuals, as groups, and also as a species.  Which of these challenges we will acknowledge has yet to be seen.  And those challenges we not only acknowledge but also engage in changing to meet will determine how and where this unscripted life will end.  For us individually, and for us collectively.

Come on along and join in the fun. We’ll travel a little, eat a little, laugh a little, and get up on a soap box from time to time — I’m sure.  But it’s all in the name of fun and no one dares take themselves too seriously.

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Old Diary, RV Living

The Need to Be Useful

Where does an RV’er “belong”?  Is it where you were born, or where you lived your life?  Do you “belong” where you cast your vote,  or where your friends live?

The Metalworker's Gate

A workman’s wrought iron gate to his home, near Bonnieux France.

Increasingly, I feel as if I belong wherever our coach is.  For a long while I was seeking a place. But  Serendipity is our home, and wherever we are we are both happiest when we are nearby;  near enough to take a walk, near enough to take a nap, or find a change of clothes, or get a chilled beverage out of the Norcold (which seems to be doing it’s job at the moment).  We thought at one point that we might park Serendipity during our annual returns to Milwaukee and return by car.  We’ve given up that idea.  We’re just happier being ‘at home’ than staying in a hotel, or staying with family (no matter how much they try to make us feel at home).

I still get the ‘itch’ to move when we’ve been in a place long enough — as has been the case for the last week or so — and I’m sure I’ll continue feeling that way until we mosey South out of Milwaukee.  But it has really happened that where the coach is parked has ‘become’ home.

Part of that hitch itch relates to whether we have chores to do.  It certainly was the fact that while volunteering in Oregon we had little time to think about being tired of being there.  I expect that will be true next summer when we volunteer at Highland Ridge.  As camp hosts there will be chores, and a daily routine.

The thing about routines

Roofs in Avignon

Roofs in Avignon

the_pumping_station_boulangerie

Loaves on the baker’s table in a market near Antibes

But there is the fact that never in my life have I been keen on routines.  And here I am in retirement kind of liking routines.  It became obvious just a few months into RV’ing that we had already settled into some kind of routine.  I get up earlier than Peg, I spend some time writing and about the time Peggy is famished and ready to chew the box the oatmeal came in I get started cooking breakfast and our day begins in earnest.

We have friends who are renovating a house.  That sounds like fun, in a masochistic sort of way.  I like working on houses (even though there’s a lot about them that I don’t know) — but at this point in life I’m not keen on starting that kind of project, or having that kind of routine.

We have friends who volunteer for the local theater company and for a local hospital. Kathryn has volunteered for the local Hospice.  These are all wonderful gifts to the community; wonderful ways of being useful.

That impulse, the impulse to be useful, is something that I’m not good about sublimating.  For all I know,  that may be why I blog — the need to feel useful. We feed our urge by volunteering — but we’ve been over 1 year now since our last gig and it will be 6 more months before we start our next one.

“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land;
it is at last to set foot on one’s own country
as a foreign land.”
– G.K. Chesterton

 What part does RV’ing play in learning to see your own country as a ‘foreign land’?

In the long run, I’m curious to see how this ‘need’ plays out.  I know RV’ers (and RV bloggers) who struggle with the need to be useful.  Some of them cope effectively with the urge; and it has driven others off the road and back into sticks & bricks; they just can’t stay sufficiently connected to their community as a traveler.  We aren’t yet sure how travel will affect us.

I’m not a patient guy.  Sometimes in the still of night I think it would be nice to help teach youth to read — not a bad gig for a retiree, I agree;  but I know that’s not something you can easily accomplish as a transient (duh…) and to be perfectly frank I’m not sure I have the patience to do what I think would be a fun thing.

St. Eustache, Paris

St. Eustache, Paris

Long ago I thought I would be a good teacher (when I was in college) and have been ever thankful that I abandoned that goal once I realized how strong was the Siren’s call to wander.  I need to move the way other people need to breathe.  So for the time I’m content to find what satisfaction I can in our periodic volunteer activities — and perhaps by getting quite involved for short spurts we’ll both accomplish the same net feeling that local volunteers get by giving less time more regularly.  (Sneaky way of me trying to stay out of routines while still being IN a routine — don’t you  think?)

All of this came pouring out because a good friend of mine (from High School) just returned from a 2 week visit to Switzerland.  He came back with lots of insight into reasons why U.S. culture isn’t working.  Sometimes we need to step away from the familiar to see it for what it is.

I think that as travelers — as RV’ers — we get to do that quite often.  Each city, each state is just a little different, and every time we collide with the unfamiliar it makes us stop and consider.  Were things always this way?  What can we do to make them better?  Or Different?  Or do they need to stay as they are.  Or… does anyone care?

Whether we care we can manifest in a lot of ways.  Last winter at Palmdale the residents participated in a variety of fun ways giving to local charities.  Then there are the volunteer gigs that so many of us full time RV’ers engage in.  And of course there is the tried and true U.S. method of throwing money at good causes.  There are many ways to show you care.  Find one that works for you.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

 

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Old Diary

Adventure before dementia

Ok, this blog article is not the easiest thing to read; clearly the writer does not have English as his / her PRIMARY language.  But little niggly annoyances aside this caught my eye.

The words struck me like greaselightning. I admit I got most of my english from showbizz. However, as we were cruising with the RV to copenhagen, denmark last easter, there was a fellow RV-buddy in front of us with this sticker on the back of his RV: adventure before dementia. 

Adventure before dementia.

If, as we are being told, dementia is the disease of the 21st Century and seeing as so many of us can’t find time to do the things we want to do, the things we say we love, with the people we say we love; it is then so crazy to want to do some of them while we can still remember what we’re doing?

Don’t get me wrong.  We do not act out of fear! We don’t do things because we are afraid of something.  But on the flipside I think there’s some wisdom to being aware of the seasons of life and acting accordingly.

For example — we plan (save) for retirement.  Not because we are afraid of getting old — but because we would like to be able to enjoy our retirement rather than eating cat food.  There are times in life when a person is too young to do somethings — so you plan on them when you are older.  There are times when your body says ‘Oh, Ohhhhh — you better not do THAT anymore’ and the wise among us realize that our time to do other things may have passed.  So, living in full awareness of our time or season of life is a smart thing to do.

I have no idea what will happen to Peg or myself as we age.  At some point one will precede the other in death — unless we die together in some fiery crash in the RV or something (just kidding), but we love being together, we love exploring, and just maybe the adventures we have not are adventures we’ll be able to remember together for a good many years in the future.

so, in our Life Unscripted maybe our corollary should be:

Adventure before Dementia

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Family, Old Diary

Thanksgiving

My Take on Thanksgiving

You don’t have to pat yourself on the back and tell everyone how thankful you are. If you really are thankful your behavior all year long will speak louder than your words ever will.  I guess I’m a little bit tired of the many ways in which the U.S. has become self-indulgent.  If we are thankful it shows in our every action.  If we are just doing what everyone around us is doing — that too will show.

I guess for me, Thanksgiving Day has become a sort of notch on the wall.  A tallying up of sums.

Here it is 2012, coming up to the end of it at that.

Retirement

Peg and I have completed a year in retirement.  Frankly, I never thought I’d get here.  With my odd work history we kind of thought that we might just end up working till we couldn’t work anymore.  But change happens and we have had a wonderful year together. Sure, we’ve had our frustrations about the house, but it’s been a pretty amazing year what with the downsizing, 4 months on the road, and everything else that’s happened.

44 Years Together

In a few more weeks we will have completed 44 years of married life together. Another milestone that I never thought much about approaching.  I have always been happy with this moment, and this day, and this experience.  I don’t spend much time anticipating anniversaries. But as the end of our 44th year approaches (Dec. 21) we still love each other and we still ENJOY each other.  In my eyes, that’s pretty wonderful.  With all the people I hear about who are getting divorced or splitting up before they even GOT married… well, it’s a lot to be thankful for.  I hope I show Peggy every day how happy I am to be married to her.

All my life I have been waiting for the time when Peg and I could spend our lives — day in and day out — together.  All through the working years we had ideas about how we could quit whatever job we had and do something together.  We never found the right thing to “do.” then.  But we sure are finding it now.  In my eyes, it’s pretty great to spend 44 years with someone and still want to spend all your time with them.

Family

We have a wonderful daughter, and a pretty great son-in-law, and a darling grand daughter.  We try to show them regularly that we love them, and that we are thankful for them. I’m sure they know that.

Thanksgiving Day will see the family all gathered here at the school.  We’ll eat too much and I hope laugh too much.  We’ll commiserate about the real estate situation, but we’ll have even more than that to look forward to.  So, whatever our hearts may be longing for wont hold a candle to those things that have been in our quiver of joys.  (how’s that for mixed metaphors?)

I have no idea where we’ll be next Thanksgiving.  Assuming we’re all still alive.  But this moment in time is a pretty great place to be.

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Old Diary

The Almosts of Life

We all have them, don’t we? Those “almosts” of life. The times when our life didn’t change by the space of a cat’s whisker….

Peg and I have had them.  Without a doubt!

  • There was the time we almost bought a sailboat.  We were standing in the dealer’s showroom with my checkbook out and the check half written — and I changed my mind.
  • There was the job in Ottumwa Iowa that I almost too — and the apartment to go along with it.
  • And the Locksmith business that we almost bought.

Yeah — we’ve had our share of them.

I came across these snapshots from the early 80’s and was reminded of the old “mill” that we thought about buying.  If you think that our school is a strange place to live you would have flipped over the mill.  It was a pre-1900 water operated grain mill that had fallen into… should I say it… “disrepair”.  Plenty of room for a studio — but no customers.  The mill was located creekside in Neshkoro Wisconsin.  Some of the old workings remained but the building itself need huge amounts of work.  I am incredibly glad that we came to our senses and passed on that ‘good buy.”

I’m sure that in the future there will be more of them.  The park we didn’t go to that had the tornado or some such event.  Hopefully we’ll be fortunate and make the right choices along the way.  But looking back at the really stupid things that you almost did can be fun.

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