Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Sunday, November 22, 2015

We're Going All In!

At home near Fort Worth, Texas...

We have arrived at a rather significant conclusion: We do not need a house! (Other than Phannie, that is.)

Depending upon how long you've been following this rag, you have been witness to several paradigm shifts in our RV life over the last ten years. We went from a small class C motorhome to a bumper-pull trailer (these were owned only a short time and predated this blog) to a fifth wheel, to another fifth wheel, then to Phannie. As the size of our RVs expanded over the years, our stick-and-brick dwellings shrank. The house we have now was custom built as an RV port home, our thinking being that we would never be anything but part-timers after we both retired. With this in mind, we designed it to be as beautiful, comfortable, energy efficient and as maintenance-free as possible, and it is, indeed, all of those things.

Since my retirement two years ago, you may have noticed an increasing number of posts expressing my rising dissatisfaction with the upkeep of this place which, in reality, is quite minimal. A psychologist will probably tell you that this whining self-pity is nothing but a canard--a straw man--that masks the underlying neurosis. And that neurosis is something I have labeled as a desire to "Wander 'til I'm Under" or being a "Rover 'til it's Over." In other words, we didn't retire just to look at four walls when God's creation is--out there.

By this point, you probably have concluded that a visit to a head doctor would be a good idea for me. But since I'm too cheap to go to one, the self-diagnosis above will have to do, and I offer this as a layman's explanation: I think that in the human psyche are several time continua, the most compelling of which are 1) our awareness of approaching mortality and 2) our accomplishment of the things of importance we have envisioned for ourselves--better known as the "bucket list." These continua can be quite easily expressed in a graph where the lifespan-remaining line ends at zero and the bucket-list-accomplishment line ends, hopefully, as close to 100 percent as possible.

So that's what's going on here. The things that seemed important when we were younger have been eclipsed by our realization that the window of opportunity to do what we really enjoy is open for a decreasing amount of time, and it may close at any moment. 

With this in mind, our stick and brick house, nice as it is, has gotten in the way of our bucket-list continuum. We have become convinced that even a house designed for low maintenance is too much bondage for someone who wants to "wander 'til we're under."

To what do we attribute this epiphany, you may ask?  Well, it wasn't so much our fulltimer friends and bloggers extolling the virtues of stick-and-brick freedom, compelling as that is. It was rather our recent two-month trip out west that cinched it for us. If you followed those posts, you probably were able to sense our euphoria as we rambled wherever and whenever we pleased with few cares except for the constant nagging uneasiness about the security and physical condition of the house we left behind. The fact that I regularly checked the security video feeds on my cell phone was a daily reminder that we were not really free. If you have not experienced a break-in and very costly theft loss, as we have, you may not realize that you will never be the same afterward when it comes to matters of security.

So, even though the freedom of movement we experienced for the two months out west was tempered to a degree by the house concerns, the buzz it gave us was enough to make us want more...much more. Oddly, it was Sandy who first expressed the sadness we were both feeling as we neared home last summer--She didn't want it to be over, and neither did I. As we pulled Phannie into her driveway, we weren't glad to be home; all we were thinking about was what must now be done to the place to get everything cleaned up, operational and presentable again. Perhaps that is why we have taken every opportunity to leave since then, sometimes for a month or more. When we glumly returned from the last trip a week ago, we finally looked at each other and said, "This doesn't make any sense; let's do what makes us happy." And so we will: The house is for sale.

We have a number of friends who are fulltimers, and we have read many blogs of those who have made the transition; we don't know of any who have regretted it. According to those who should know, the number one requirement is for the spouses to be well suited for close proximity all the time, and Sandy and I have that nailed after 39 years. We are much better together than apart, and we always have been. We have other friends who could not possibly conceive of ever doing such a thing as fulltiming, equating it with self-induced homelessness. That's understandable, but people have differing priorities. Besides, we're now more fulltimers than part-timers anyway. We are traveling more than we are at home, and we already have a mail forwarding service; we may as well take the final plunge.

I will now have a new blog topic as we move into the ultimate downsizing phase of our lives, God help us. We will share it all, so fasten your seat belts. The task will be daunting, so say a little prayer for us.

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; please forgive me if I don't appreciate it enough each day.

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