When life got in the way – Frustrations and Hopes

“Be careful what you wish for,” is what they say. The sentiment would be better stated as, “Be thoughtful and fully conscious of what you wish for.”

When our house upriver went on the market we knew that our lease on that particular Paradise was up. We also felt that we were ready for another variation of Paradise. I wanted to downsize so that I could focus on fewer projects and feel less overwhelmed. (In retrospect, I also felt the need to make more money, doing something that gave me pleasure and fulfillment; and I needed to focus for that.)

I heard my husband’s daydreams/dreams about the gypsy lifestyle, about Airstream trailers, RVs, pop-up trailers and the like. We compromised on a teardrop trailer that we could pull behind our Volvo – as I felt that would leave a smaller carbon footprint, as well as save us money on hotels. There is just enough room inside for a queen-sized mattress – no standing room – and a small counter with a couple of cabinets in the hatchback. I liked the idea of using our larger camping tent with the teardrop, but gave in to Ray’s intent to use our market canopy instead.

Ray had bought a membership to an RV resort, Thousand Trails, (TT) which gave us the option of camping within their preserves throughout the western US. He talked of spending a year traveling throughout the US in the teardrop.

Our first outing was about 50 miles away from our home, still upriver. We had planed on staying for a week. The second day it began to rain. This might not normally deter campers, especially with an enclosed, off-ground bed, but there were some other considerations that became obvious. Ray tends to rise by 5am. The only thing to do at that time of morning is read, which was cold and uncomfortable under the canopy. The lodge, which had heat, shelter, and WI-fi computer access, didn’t open until 8:00. There were no coffee shops to drive to that were open that early. We went home after the third day.

Ray thought maybe we would limit our year-long adventure to…maybe three months. All the while, I’m thinking of saving a lot of money from not paying rent, having few distractions, and being able to do research and write at the various resort stops on this adventure. Focus, right?

We had a friend, Vick, who wanted to sell his trailer. The trailer was fairly large and a newer, upscale model, and the friend had a number of issues other than the desire to sell the trailer. We were both thinking it, but I stepped out on a limb and suggested we buy Vick’s trailer. Ray had investigated getting an annual site at the local TT. Vick found alternative digs, and we felt it was a win-win situation for all. TT had a hot tub and swimming pool, a fitness center, two clubhouses with TV and Wi-fi. We would save big-time by having our trailer on an annual lot.

While preparing to move, I was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma  -cancer – on my face. We decided to finish the move, and the attendant moving sale, before going back to the east coast to have the needed surgery. We moved into the trailer, put some things into a storage unit, bought a small storage shed and installed it at the trailer site. We were now calling the trailer the “cabin.” That just sounded more upscale and adventurous than “trailer.”

We spent a month in Pennsylvania, staying with family. I had the surgery, everything came out fine, no more cancer, no follow-up treatment needed. We go back home to the trailer. We spent a lot of energy downsizing even more, and decided we would eliminate the storage unit. Dear friends had room in their pole barn for the teardrop, and we stored a few things in their large basement.
We spent January teardrop/canopy camping in Palm Springs. We planned for six weeks, but for various reasons, were home in four. For a short time the “cabin” felt luxurious. Then the other shoe fell.

Without the capacity for a land-line, we had to buy a cell phone. We bought a hot-spot so we could get some internet access in the cabin. The data plan was limited to a number of gigabytes that didn’t allow us to stream audio or video without running out of gigs. That was OK, as we could go to either clubhouse and use our computers there. Internet is usually reliable there – at least in the off-season. Of course, it’s a pain to be in the middle of working on something, and realize that paperwork, information, or some other necessary component is back in the “home office.” In spite of attempting to put everything in digital format, it doesn’t seem to happen that way.

The “fitness center,” I put in quotation marks for a reason. Tiny and poorly thought out, it was obviously put together by someone ill-equipped to do so. So much for saving money on gym membership. And I had such a nice, individualized workout room upriver, as well as a kayak and a rowing shell, a dock, and clear Rollerblading streets as well. Boo Hoo Hoo!

There is a theme taking shape here. One morning Ray awoke at about 4:30, went to the bathroom, pulled the door separating the bedroom from the rest of the cabin mostly closed, leaving room for the cat to move through. The light goes on, the television flickers (sight). The microwave beeps to heat up tea, the parabolic heater cycles on, the cat cries to go out (sound). Every movement Ray makes shakes the trailer (feeling). And on most days there is at least coffee and, usually, breakfast cooking (smell).
This tends to make it difficult for me to get back to sleep. I regularly need eight hours of sleep.

So here’s the point. I thought I could make Ray happy by living out one of his dreams with him. Living in an RV (more or less) and traveling, all on our budget of his Social Security and my pension. And I could get started on my blog and ensuing business at the same time.

After being ruthlessly honest with myself, what I really want is enough money to make decisions based upon what we really need and desire, instead of on our meager budget. Yes, I actually said it – “meager!”

We all carry around so much baggage, full of judgments, attitudes and expectations that often aren’t our conscious choices. They come from our history, our environment, who-knows-where, but they are only ours because we have them – not because we choose them. It takes personal work, but we can choose to change and get rid of the unwanted baggage. We must do the work if we want to live our own lives.

That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it!

My first post written 18 months ago.

OK, I have to be honest from the start. When I am conflicted about something I go between being judgmental, compassionate and tolerant. This happens about a number of things, but since we’re talking about being in, and knowing, our bodies, I’ll talk about that first.
I tend to be impatient with people who decide that they can’t do something, with all the reasons they seem to have reinforced for ages. I understand that there is a need to understand what’s behind their inabilities, and pain is no little thing, but since the average person doesn’t know their body, or much about bodies in general, to decide what IS based on that, doesn’t make sense to me.
On the other hand, people think they know their body when they buy into what the media has told them about it, and that also is understandable, as the media has a lot of backing and know-how about how to get ideas across that they want gotten. These may have basis in science, or they may not. Many people were told when young that something specific was going on with some particular part of their anatomy or movement ability. For some reason this happens more often with girls. I’ve heard that feet are too small, necks are too long, breasts are too big, you’re just not build to…, you’re just not coordinated. Do we ever look at animals that way? Aren’t they able to just be what they are, and do what they do?
A cat may be bow legged, but it can still run like a cat. A dog may have short legs, but still moves like a dog. In fact, if you’ve ever seen an animal missing a limb, they don’t seem to notice! So we get judged about what we can do, or should be able to do, based on some often very uninformed, biased opinions, and we let those opinions have more sway with us than our own sense of ourselves.
I get judgmental when someone says, “I was never able to do that.” or “can’t do…because of…”
Now I know I have said those things. But what I have also discovered is that there are other things I can do, often very closely related to what hurts me to do, that I CAN do.
The point is not to give up, to keep trying.
It is so easy to get lazy with pain as an excuse, but it just gets worse if we let that happen, and we get very unhappy with ourselves and our abilities. There is always hope!

That having been said, I often feel compassion, because I have, for however long, been at that self-limiting place. I know what it is to hurt, to not be able to do what it is you specifically want to do. IT’S ESPECIALLY DIFFICULT IF YOU ALWAYS WERE ABLE TO DO IT BEFORE! Things are also difficult if you’ve never done them. They’re difficult if they’re different from things you’ve done. As a martial artist, every time I took a class in a new art, or even yoga or Pilates, I felt like a rank beginner! In fact, I’ve known athletes who never went beyond their own specific activity because they didn’t want to experience that feeling of starting from scratch. If you want something, you have to do something to get it.

The compassion comes in because I do see people suffering. There is physical pain of many sorts. There is emotional pain, which often carries a stigma of shame and self-blame, and which people are remiss to admit to. There is social pain, which comes from feeling like we’re so different, or so much less than we should be in the eyes of our culture. I empathize. No matter how accomplished or lucky someone appears, chances are that they’re not feeling that accomplished, especially women.
I know, and have known, some wonderful people who suffer from both being unable to do what they want to do, and from not allowing themselves to try anything different. It is never too late to do something about that, but you do need a support system, and you do need to constantly be heard, so that it is YOU deciding to do whatever it is you’re attempting.

The tolerance is more of a patience thing. I can say I have gained, over the years, more patience in putting up with peoples’ games. If that sounds like it’s not necessarily good or kind, yeah, that’s about the truth of it. The reality is that we do have to be patient with each other, as well as with ourselves. We have to, at some point, tolerate our issues. Ultimately we aren’t out in the world to change others, but rather to be present with others as they attempt to change, evolve, or whatever you choose to call it. If we are to work with each other, we must meet each other on our own, or their own, ground. it’s the only place to start. Wishing and nagging won’t make it otherwise.