Jan 222009

Q. What does a man do with his car when he gets too old to drive it?

A. He tows it behind his motorhome!

I received an e-mail yesterday in response to a blog I wrote a few days ago about hanging up the keys. The lady who sent the e-mail asked “How old is too old to continue RVing? I’m 68, but am in excellent health and still feel like a teenager. My husband is 72, is also in good health, and we are both active. Two of our adult children are wholly supportive of our gypsy lifestyle, but after five years on the road, our third daughter has suddenly decided that we are too old to be running around the country and has been lobbying us to settle down in a retirement community somewhere in the Sunbelt. We’re just not ready for that yet. So how old is too old? When is it time to hang up the keys?”

There is no correct answer to those questions. We know fulltime RVers who are well into their 70s and have absolutely no intention of slowing down. We also know people living in sticks and bricks houses who are quickly growing old at 50.

A lot of it has to do with our mental state. I don’t mean how age has affected our mental faculties, but rather how our mind has affected our age. Remember the old saying that we’re only as old as we feel? I think some people have it in their minds to be old, so they are old. Others are just too darned busy to grow old!

One of the youngest people I have ever met is Lee Snow, whom I interviewed at the Escapees Plantation RV park in Alabama several years ago when she was a busy and active octogenarian who had been a solo RVer more years than some people reading this have been alive. Lee is a delightful woman who has so many wonderful stories to tell about her adventures that I could just sit and listen to her all day. Lee finally hung up the keys to her old Travco motorhome at age 89, but she’s still one of the youngest people I’ve ever known.

I think the fulltime RV lifestyle attracts vibrant, active people who have a love of adventure and a zest for life that mere years on a calendar can never slow down. Hang around an RV park in snowbird country and you’ll see people in their late 60s and 70s out riding bicycles, kayaking, swimming, playing tennis, and involved in tons of other activities.

Sit and visit with them at happy hour and their conversations are full of interesting opinions and information, and plenty of laughs. You’ll hear them talking about their RV trips to Alaska, fishing the Gulf Coast, or building houses for Habitat for Humanity. But you’d have to work hard to hear anyone complaining about their aches and pains, or sharing all of the details of their latest surgical procedure. There may be a few lines on the faces and gray in the hair, but these people are young at heart! Much too young to relegate themselves to a retirement community and a life of staring at the boob tube.

I think as long as someone has the physical ability to handle the tasks of hooking up and unhooking their utilities at a campground and the other hands-on aspects of the RV lifestyle; as long as they are mentally sharp, and their vision and hearing make them safe behind the wheel, there is no reason to hang up the keys based upon a chronological date.

As long as you’re capable, and it’s still fun, keep those wheels rolling. Because if you slow down, old age might just creep up and grab you!

Thought For The Day – How long a minute is depends on which side of the bathroom door you’re on.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  7 Responses to “How Old Is Too Old?”

  1. How old is too old to do ? My mother in law years ago answered it very nicely, when she said that “old people are 15 years older than what you are currently!” We don’t want to admit that we’re failing, but if we honestly look at ourselves, the signs are there: a hip that ought to be replaced; eyes that seem to play games on me; more bathroom trips at night; the quick cat naps in the chair after dinner and the list just goes on and on. But don’t we learn in sports, “Never give up!” So we keep plodding along! Gene

  2. When to hang ’em up? When YOU decide to, not when your daughter decides! Our younger daughter has given up on wanting us to stop, she just would like it if we stop nearby once in a while!

    I’ll have to admit, though, that my Dad’s car keys were taken away from him when he didn’t know he was endangering family, friends, neighbors and strangers by driving erratically. We had to hide his keys, and eventually hide his car.

    Everyone is different.

  3. If you ever get a chance to meet IYQ, take it! Check out the SKP Class of ’08 forum to see what a live wire he is during his second go around at fulltiming after being off the road for 30 years.

  4. Old is a state of mind so I’ve been told.

    I”m 63 and some days I feel like I’m to old to walk out to the mailbox to get the mail… Other days I dream of traveling full time and seeing this great country of ours.
    I guess it’s my state of mind that keeps me going.

  5. We hung our keys up to be near my husband’s elderly mother. She passed away 3 years later. Now I miss the full time lifestyle and my husband says we’re too old to start over (70 years old). I sit in my chair all day playing computer games and am bored out of my gourd. DON’T GIVE UP YOUR FULL TIME LIFESTYLE unless you’re really sure you want to. I regret very much giving it up. Not enjoying retirement!

  6. Judy…so sad…you are where I’m at….single though and just a little trepidations to take off on my own at 66….any thoughts out there.?

  7. Just can’t wait to begin the semi full time RV lifestyle. Unless I hit the lottery or my hubs publishes his book after 4 years of writing it, I sadly still have roughly a decade of job commitment to go. But I have decided that if our physical health is good by retirement time…whenever that comes…I want to be on the road….in Canada! Yup that’s right Canada in the winter months. I plan to reside in a seasonal campground for 6 months near my favourite great lake…Lake Huron oh and of course my youngest daughter. When the campground in Southern Ontario closes in October..off we go in our Class B or C?? not sure yet which one it will be…to the other side of our beautiful country to the West Coast to live on the Island in peace and harmony and probably rain and cold. Of course this is my dream and I am flighty like that being a Pisces and all. My best buddy and soul mate is completely the opposite…sometimes bums me out with his voice of reason and ability to point out pit falls and such…grrr. But he does share my desire to live an alternative lifestyle from the so called ‘norm’. I get fuel for my dreams from reading the blogs and stories of like minded people living the RV lifestyle, from the young students who can’t afford rent and tuition at the same time, to the ‘dinks (double income no kids) who actually know what is happening to the world we are living in to the mid life crisis folk (this could be me at this time), to the newly retired with a ‘sold house’ type of bank account. Everyone has a story and I love to read and watch them all. I envy everyone of you living this life on your terms. I have not been a huge traveller throughout my life but I can say the trips I have been on all have one thing in common…the memory of that certain feeling of rolling into a town or city you have never been before and that sheer excitement of the unknown…it’s amazing…even when I have spewed out the wrong directions and my buddy is ticked right off at me for it…I still am in awe of my surroundings…lost or not.

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