An Unexplained Absence

Hello there, Stranger! Or am I the stranger? I forget. Either way, Hello! I have missed you, though the fault is all mine. My absence was caused solely by the realization that I am not super-woman (who knew, right?), and unfortunately I cannot do everything, though believe me I have tried. My desperate attempts to accomplish more than humanly possible in a day have resulted in my picture under the word insanity in the dictionary. My list of “things to do today” was becoming unbearably long and something had to give. A few somethings actually. And a seemingly normal blog post was my wake-up call.

I have a tendency to leave the computer on during the day, and whenever I manage to find a few minutes, I will sit down and work on a post. A normal post usually takes me about 12.5 sit-down sessions before I manage to get it somewhat done. Some days I cannot even get that far. I can live with that. Most of the time. But on one sunny Saturday afternoon, after 19.28473 failed attempts at blogging, it hit me: I was spending far too much time attempting something. Even when the attempts were (somewhat) successful, they still consumed too much time. Not to mention the days when they were not even close to successful. And while I was spending my time grasping for the impossible, my three kids were here. Right in front of me. Requesting, demanding, my time, as they have the right to do. What I found was that my specialized time with them during our home school lessons was not enough. They wanted my time all of the time.

So I decided to compile a list of my daily goals and expectations. Homeschooling is my top priority, followed closely by sleeping (’cause nobody likes Mama when she’s a bear), regular household chores (you can only fit so many dishes inside an RV), working (have to support the RV lifestyle somehow), and showering (per Rob’s request.) After running out of time day after day after day, I realized that I was spending too much time reading, running and blogging. Three things that are not high on the priority list.

So I had to simplify. The three items at the bottom of the list were on the chopping block.

Running. I walk an average of 10-12 miles a night at work, possibly even more now that we have hit Peak Season, so even though I am not out there running every morning, I am getting more and more fit every night I go to work. I am getting stronger, healthier. I can feel it. When the season is over, I can hit the road again, and I know I will be in the position to do so.

Reading. If only I could make a living reading books… Getting lost in a good story or learning about somebody else’s fascinating life is one of my favorite things to do. Not to mention that reading the classics is helping me to better educate my kids. But finding the time is a little challenging right now, so I read aloud to the kids a lot. I have always read to them, but lately we have been reading some great classics. They loved Summer of the Monkeys and are currently enjoying The Secret Garden. And every now and then, when I can keep my eyes open for just a few more minutes, I sneak in a chapter or two from my own personal book. So even though I am not devouring the books the way I might like, I am still getting in some quality reading time, and I cannot complain about that.

Blogging. This is the big one for me. And the hardest to let go. I compromised with myself and decided just to blog on my days off, about once or twice a week. That way I can stay up after everyone else is in bed (like tonight) and I can let my mind wander at will and not feel guilty about neglecting anyone. During the day I have not been turning the computer on at all, which has helped everyone. I have come to realize that I was depending on it a little too much, and I do not want my kids to think that it is a necessity in life. I think this is why my absence has been so long, I needed to make sure I was taking myself seriously, which I fail to do most of the time.

I have found that if I don’t set out to do more that I possibly can, then I feel better at the end of the day. Trying to accomplish certain things and failing always leaves me feeling defeated, and that wears me down. But being realistic about my goals and expectations, and actually being able to finish everything I start, well, that makes me feel good about myself. It boosts my self-esteem. Makes me feel like a rock-star. All right, perhaps that is pushing it a little bit. (Or a lot.) But I think you know what I mean.

So while I value your amazing companionship, I hope you will understand if I don’t come around every day. At least not for the next month or so. When Peak Season is over and things slow down a little bit then I will be back for our almost-daily visits. Driving you crazy as usual. That is, after all, my specialty. 🙂

Our Wild and Precious Life

…Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
~Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day”

I have been trying to decide how to word this blog for quite some time now. How to make everyone understand what we are about to do. And why we are about to do it. But no matter how hard I try, I just can’t get it right. I’m not sure I will ever be able to. Even now, as I sit here determined to finally get this post done, I have no idea how I am going to do it. Just spit it out, I tell myself. But how? One word at a time…

Mistakes. I am finally beginning to learn that there are none. Everything in life happens for a reason, though it may take years to figure out exactly what that reason is. All those wrong turns we made in our youth, all our bold decisions, all the paths chosen in error. As it turns out, they weren’t mistakes at all. We learned things that we would need later in life. We learned what really mattered and what didn’t. We learned that not all of us fit into the same mold. Not all of us are meant to follow the exact same path.

The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it.  ~Author unknown, sometimes attributed to W.M. Lewis

Last summer, feeling as though we had made yet another wrong decision, Rob and I began considering becoming full-time Rvers. Could we do it? Would the kids like homeschooling? Would we be able to find work? I must admit that I was much more anxious than Rob was in the beginning. I wanted to head out the door right that minute, but Rob was sensible, so we talked it up and down and left and right and inside and outside until the only thing that made sense was… going.

One day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now. ~Paulo Coelho

Why? We were always restless anyway, always wanting to know what was around the next bend. We had yet to find a place that felt like home. We had already decided that we wanted to home school the kids. We all enjoy traveling and going new places. There are many work opportunities for people on the road. The education we would all receive would be priceless. The memories even more so. Not to mention that owning a home had lost its appeal after we lost our hobby farm

And suddenly, everything began to make sense. So we cleaned out our rental house, put our special things in storage, sold and donated a lot of stuff, found an RV that would work for us, purchased it and made it home. That was 11 months ago.

To change one’s life:  Start immediately.  Do it flamboyantly.  No exceptions.  ~William James

And now, in just two short weeks, we are taking off on a full-time RV adventure. All five of us along with our pets. Not many people understand why we are doing this. Even fewer approve. But we are doing this for our family, for our kids, for ourselves. Life is too short to be spent doing what everyone else expects of you. Passion. That is what we have been missing. And courage. Rob and I have finally arrived at a point in our lives where we have everything we need, and there is nothing stopping us.

This decision is definitely not without risks. We don’t have steady income from an online business or rental property so we will literally have to work our way around the country. Nor do we have nearly as much saved as we would like, so we will have to be very careful. There is a chance that a job won’t come exactly when we need it to, or something will break when we can’t afford for it to, but we all take that risk no matter where we are. And, I speak for myself here, I am more confident in this decision than I have been about anything for a long time, and I can’t tell you how liberating that feels.      

Never be afraid to fail. Failure is often the first step on the ladder of success. ~Vaughn Hay

So, as it turns out, all the mistakes we thought we had made were merely stepping-stones. They brought us here, where we found the final piece of the puzzle. And although it took us years to get here, we are exactly where we are meant to be at this exact moment in time. Are we crazy? Possibly. Or perhaps we have simply come alive, finally, and that is all we were waiting for.