Two years ago I can vividly recall us driving our truck and brand new camper away from our first ever rally. I turned to Lee and said, “I want to come back when we are full timers and give back.” I can picture myself so clearly, shining with optimism, emboldened by the things we had learned and the people we had met, and actually feeling like we could do this. That in itself was a huge step for me. As Linda says, I was a tough sell, but once convinced I completely threw myself into it. I know many couples become full-timers without that experience. I met a great couple just last night who have been full-timing as long as we have and never went to a rally, but for me I can’t even imagine that would be possible. I needed outside verification that I wasn’t crazy, I needed to see with my own eyes that it can work, and most of all I needed to feel as if I was not alone. The RV-Dreams rally gave me all that and more and I am really happy that we are able to come back and hopefully share some of that with the future full timers.
As we were driving to the rally yesterday, these thoughts were running through my head, and in anticipation of the people we would be talking to I started to think about what I would tell myself two years ago if I could go backwards. The thoughts came so fast that I started taking notes in the car and this post is a direct result. Since arriving we have been busy helping Howard and Linda, sitting at campfires, and having a wonderful time getting caught up with them and meeting new people, but before we get to far into the rally I want to make sure I write this down. So here is what I would say to myself. I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have listened to most of it, but maybe someone else reading this will be smarter than I was!
- Try not to sweat the small stuff (I definitely would not have listened to that!)
- Everyone in your life is not going to get it, and they certainly won’t all approve. Make your peace with that now.
- You will sell your house. It may take time, but it will eventually happen. Have faith.
- You won’t miss your stuff. You may occasionally miss the idea of things, but the stuff itself you won’t miss.
- Get your tires upgraded before you leave. (We put this off and then two stressful flat tires later finally had it done. No way was it worth the delay and our peace of mind with G rated tires is much higher)
- That being, said stuff breaks. Deal with it.
- The claustrophobia will lessen with time. You and Lee will find a way to coexist in a 400 foot space.
- It’s not a competition. There is no winning full-timing because there is no right and wrong way to do it, so find your own way.
- Give yourself a break. It’s OK if you aren’t good at this at first.
- Trust yourself and trust your husband. The transition is not always easy, but you will be fine.
- That being said, you still won’t have it all figured out in two years and that’s OK. It truly is about the journey and not the destination.
- You will be happy.
The last one really resonated with me. I am not a person who has had a lot of joy in her life. I have been successful, I have been productive, I have been satisfied, and I have certainly been content. But pure unadulterated joy…not so much of that. I have experienced more pure joy in the last two years than I have in my entire life…truly. So whatever happens, however this plays out long term, I am OK with it. The joy was worth it. That’s really what I should say to myself. Dive right in, the joy is worth it.
Thanks for listening, and thanks to Howard and Linda. I have said it often and I truly mean it. They changed my life by helping me to find my joy.
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