I got an e-mail the other day from a gentleman who shared a story that I have heard more than once. It never gets any easier to hear, and I’m never sure how to respond.
He told me that he has been a Gypsy Journal subscriber for years, and has dreamed of fulltiming for longer than he can remember, He will be 70 this year, and recently retired for the second time, first putting in 24 years in the Army and then another 20 years with a manufacturing company. Now he wants to live his dream. He and his wife are both in excellent health.
But his wife is totally opposed to not only fulltime RVing, but travel of any kind. He told me that several years ago they bought a used motorhome and took one trip in it, and it broke down the first night out, resulting in them spending the night in a repair shop parking lot. He said that as soon as the repairs were completed the next day, his wife insisted they return home, where he parked the RV and never moved it again until it was sold. According to him, his wife wants nothing more out of life than to watch TV from the time she gets up in the morning until she goes to bed at night.
He said he has begged her to just go south in the winter to escape the cold in New England, and she refuses. He said he finally told her that if she wasn’t willing to travel, he would do it on his own for two or three months during the winter, and she vowed to divorce him. He asked my advice, saying that he didn’t want to walk away from a 50 year marriage, but he also can’t be happy sitting next to her on the couch until the undertaker hauls him away..
I’m not exactly Dr. Phil, but my first reaction was that I’d tell her sayonara, and that she could kiss my taillights goodbye as I drove out of sight. What I did tell him was that I couldn’t make his decisions for him, but at age 70, if he doesn’t live his dream now, when will he?
As I said, he is not the first person to share this same problem with me. A lot of new or soon to be fulltimers have second thoughts. It’s a big step to take. We even experienced it ourselves, As happens with many people, Miss Terry was excited about the prospect of life on the road, but got cold feet at the last minute, when she realized that she was about to go off and leave her home and “security” behind. Fortunately, that only lasted until we passed the city limits sign, and now I couldn’t drag her kicking and screaming back into a conventional lifestyle, even if I tried.
Terry and I developed an entire seminar for Life on Wheels titled The Reluctant RVer that addresses this issue. We had many students thank us later for helping them get past their fears and hesitation to embrace the RV lifestyle.
But the class only helps those who are reluctant. What happens when one spouse longs to travel, and the other is adamant that he or she will not set foot inside an RV, and compromise is not an option? Who wins and who loses?
There is a big difference between having second thoughts, and not being willing to give your life partner’s dream even one thought. When that happens, what do you do? Who wins and who loses? In this case, I fear they will both lose in the end.
Thought For The Day – There is a word for somebody who has a dream and pursues it no matter what, never stopping, never giving up, no matter what. That word is successful.