Sunday, April 27, 2008


As one paces him/her self through their daily routine things must always be kept in perspective. Getting wound up in the day to day issues of working can be overwhelming to many. 15 years ago I found myself at a milestone in life. I had an old work buddy who had been planning his retirement for years. He was not wealthy but his plans for fishing, camping and spending time with his grandchildren was all the wealth he needed. He spent less than two months in retirement and unexpectantly died of a heart attack. Another friend was gearing towards an early retirement, ended up with a terminal illness and left us after a 3 year struggle. These circumstances brought me to an awakening. The old saying "you can't take any of it with you" came to have new meaning.
I had been a workaholic for 16 years with the token two week winter vacation per year. At that stage in life my wife and I decided that life IS to short to spend it in the 50 week per year grind with the long term goal of retirement at 65. We are people of modest means and independant wealth just isn't in the cards regardless of the years of toil. At that point we completely changed our life style. We reconditioned an old motor home and became "vagrants" of a sort. I informed my employer at that time that I would be leaving them in the winter months and would return in the spring. I guess this was sort of an ultimatum, but that's the way it was. Now here we are 14 years (and four motorhomes) later and still have the freedom of at least two to three months off in the winter in Arizona. This entails more of a hand to mouth existance due to reduced winter income but the rewards greatly outweigh the financial impacts. Independance does not necessarily need to be of the financial sort. We have never regreted our decisions. Freedom from the stresses of employment responsibilities for those weeks each year have added sanity to our lives. I am extremely passionate about work and am my own worse enemy as I strive for perfection in every facet of my work. Driving ones self that hard on a yearly basis is the perfect recipe for an early demise.
We have been able to find a great balance with our seasonal routine and cannot imagine living any other way. Full time living in an RV creates numerous challenges but all can be overcome. The most important thing is to always keep the work-a-day world in perspective. It doesn't really mean anything in the bigger picture. Letting the pressures of work effect ones personal life is unacceptable behavior in my opinion. I find myself falling into that mindset occasionally and must always step back and laugh at my close mindedness when I am in that place. Every day of life is a gift and we must always remember that fact. Never take life or people for granted as they may not be there tomorrow. The relatively short amount of time we are each given on this earth shouldn't be wasted on stress or negativity.
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1 comment:

Louise said...

I love this post. I think your priorities are exactly right. Of course, I'm biased as a fellow bike-loving full-timer.

We, too, watched several dear friends lose health, vitality and eventually their life while waiting for conventional retirement age. That sadness and shock helped us decide to do something different, and we've never looked back.

Thanks for leaving your blog's address over on Our Odyssey. I'm pleased to read your work.

Safe travels!

Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.