Apr 172010

Hindsight is always 20/20, and more than once in my life, I’ve found myself repeating that old saying “I sure wish I knew then what I know now.” Looking back over my life, from today’s perspective, I can see a lot of things I would change, if I had it to do over. 

For example, going back to my high school days, I wish I had spent more time paying attention in typing class, and less time staring at that pretty girl with the long blonde hair who sat across the aisle from me. I’ve forgotten who she was long ago, but as a writer, knowing how to type with more than two fingers would really come in handy. Somebody gave me a touch typing instructional CD a couple of years back, but the habit of a lifetime are hard to overcome.

Speaking of bad habits, anybody who saw the pictures of my daughter in the last two blogs knows that she is the one in our family with the willpower. Tiffany was able to break her unhealthy habits at a relatively young age, while mine are so ingrained that I will probably never lose that kind of weight.

More than once I have wished I had made a career out of the Army. I made rank fast, and I enjoyed military life. It would be nice to have that military retirement to fall back on at this point in my life, and as a fulltime RVer, I’d sure love to be able to take advantage of the Fam Camps on military bases across the country.

Of course, like every RVer, I have my “shoulda, coulda, wouldas,” as my friend Joe Kieva calls them. If I had it to do over again, I’d have done more homework before we started out, and bought a diesel pusher motorhome to begin with.

I would not have invested so much money in an expensive campground membership in our first month on the road. But back then, we had never heard of resale memberships and the bargains they offer.

One thing I would have invested in was an automatic rooftop satellite TV dish. After over ten years of fumbling around with a tripod mounted dish, it sure is nice to just push a button and sit on the couch waiting until the dish locks onto a signal.

I could go on and on – there are roads we should have traveled, and those we should have avoided. There are campgrounds where we should have stopped, and others where we should have just kept right on driving. And there are several dead end streets we never should have turned down! But we’ve all been there, haven’t we?

As a fulltime RVer, there is no doubt that the one thing I would do differently is to have started out years earlier. We were in our mid-40s when we hit the road, and we regret the years and adventures we missed, while we were stuck in our workaholic ruts. I’ve never heard a fulltimer say that they wish they had worked longer, or that they had not started out so soon.

Of course, Miss Terry always reminds me that who we are today is the result of all of the things we have experienced in the past, good or bad. And some of those missteps do lead to good stories to tell around the campfire.  Yes, you really can back up a motorhome with a tow car attached if the street is narrow enough and the neighborhood shady enough to prevent you from wasting time unhooking. You shouldn’t, but you can!

So what about you? What would you do over, if you had it to do again?

Thought For The Day – Sometimes life gives you a second chance.

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Nick Russell

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

  22 Responses to “If I Had It To Do Over”

  1. I wished I had learned Spanish during grade school and high school. That would have been very useful. But it wasn’t cool when you grow up in New Mexico. Instead I have two years of Latin, one year of German and no expertise in any language. Sprechen zie duetch nine es ala habla no espanol. But I can still say the Pledge of Allegiance in Latin. Not exactly a useful life skill but then we all go with what we’ve got, ay?

  2. Nick,

    I wish I had closed the opening on my face and used the one on each side of my head a little more.

  3. Ditto on the Spanish and Latin. All I can do is count to 10 in Latin…..I think. Not too many things I would do over but full timing sooner would be number 1 on the list.

  4. I don’t dwell to much on the past. Doing that will take to much from the future. I look at things now and say if I don’t do that now,later on I’ll wish I had of.


  5. Too old to change? We are the same age and I decided to make a change and have lost 50 pounds so far but have 40 to go. So far I sleep better, my back and knees feel much better and I’m more energetic. The first 2 to 3 weeks were the hardest. Since then, and after seeing some good results, I became determined to see this thru to the end. Please congratulate your daughter for me on her success. She’s my new inspiration to lose the next forty.

    I wished that I had learned to type, spell, became a pilot, …

  6. If I could do it all again I would like start full time RV ing sooner and stayed away from
    Alcohol and my first Wife . There were some other things, but they were fun , and they
    do make good story to tell . Over all Life has been good and have a lot of great Friends
    like You & Miss Terry and many more out there . Now if $100,000.00 came my way it would help but if not we will make do with what we have and still be “””Happy “”” .

    PS – Thank You two for all the reading though the Years

  7. back up a toad, not!!!! If I back up 2 to 3 feet my Honda’s front wheels will turn inward and scrape the tires sideways and probably damage the front end geometry. I wouldn’t advise anyone to try backing up a toad.
    I hope that isn’t being too critical but I don’t want anybody damaging their vehicles.

  8. NOTHING!!
    good or bad. I have enjoyed life and all of the great things that God has given me.
    I did not enjoy the one job, cleaning residential sewers, but it was a means to the end and I knew it was only temporary.

  9. “Shouldas, couldas and wouldas” are useless, of course. And of course, we all have them. Not too many things I’d do differently (at least that I’ll admit to anybody!), but I would get more exercise at a younger age! Sitting on the butt is harmful to your future fitness. Of course, knowing what I know now, how come I’m not out walking the park instead of sitting on my butt at the computer?

  10. I plan for my epitath to read “I’d rather regret the things I did than the things I didn’t do.” Everything, even the yucky stuff makes you the person you are and, of course, are fodder for your stories around the campfire.

  11. All things for a reason, everything a season…or something like that. No regrets for the past, just some hard earned experience that we would like forget to now and then. Wouldn’t change a thing. All the stuff that happened is the mortar that holds my bricks together and makes everyone wonder what the hell I’m smiling about.


  12. Looking back there is not a lot I would change. Being married to a career military person we did a lot of neat traveling over the 22 years we were active duty. I wish that we both could have gotten our college degrees a few years earlier, but we proved to the young generation that age does not matter when it comes to learning. It was a little slower but we both did it. We got our degrees after the age of 40. Retiring was at the right time for both I was just 55. The thing about backing with a toad in our opinion is a big no. We have become experts in the art of unhooking quick when you goof, and believe me we have done that at lot. It can even be funny when you have an audience and you are the entertainment for the week. We think gas stations should make it impossible for a rig with a tow to get the rig thru ok but not the car, the pesky pumps seem just to jump out in front of them.

  13. Me. I would have enlisted in one of the Armed Forces.

  14. No regrets. Just hope I get to finish my bucket list!! It is getting shorter though.

  15. I wish I had purchased the condo next door, right after the ’94 earthquake in Los Angeles. They were half the price from two years before, and went up three times by the time I was ready to sell the one I owned. Oh well.

    Your daughter’s weight loss is a true inspiration. She must feel great. Accomplishment is the best drug in the world.


  16. I wish I had not listened to my family and followed my dreams of going to college. Instead, I was told a womans role was to get married and have kids. I do love my husband and my children, but all of my life I have wanted to go to college.

  17. I wish I had learned to dance. My poor wife loves to dance and I can’t dance a step. I also wish we had not waited so long to become fulltime RVers. We only had 2 years on the road before my eyesight began to go bad and now we are back in a sticks and bricks home with so much left we never got to see.

  18. When we retired our kids and my sister poo poohed our ideas of fulltiming, so we wasted another four years being bored to death listening to family gossip and drama, and a never endling litany of everybody’s aches and pains. We felt like we were just waiting to get old and die before we finally said to hell with that and bought our fifth wheel and hit the road.

  19. Nick the other side of the military retirement pay is to contract lung cancer and they give you your retirement without the 25 years. I wouldn’t recommend it though but the disability check does come in handy for someone who did too many of the should-a things instead of earning money. I can thrill a lot of people over the campfire. Ron

  20. Oh…I try not to dwell on what I would, could or should have done, I just know there are a few things that I have learned after being on this earth more than 50 years. One thing is to trust my intuition more! If something tells you that things are not right, then proceed with caution. Usually from this point, if it feels wrong, it probably is! I have learned a lot from you Nick, in the last couple of years. You have given us some great pointers and insights. Also I have tried to heed a warning and learn from some of your bad experiences! We were lucky enough to start off with a Diesel Pusher, and now I can just say that I don’t think we can go back. The only bad thing with this one, is that it’s sometimes too big and not convenient to find somewhere to park! I also started right at the top when it was time to get the satellite dish. Got the newest and best for the time. Things outdate too fast. We thoroughly enjoy our Traveler Dish. I don’t want to ever learn from your experiences of being broken into and robbed, so I try real hard to not be a target and be aware of surroundings. We just take advantage of the good opportunities this old world has to offer every day and go one day and one trip at a time! Take care and keep the words of wisdom coming!

  21. Sure there are lots of things I wish might have been different in my life. But then I realize that without each of those decisions I would not be where I am now. What if I have missed meeting Peter and marrying him? I sure don’t want that to change. Besides all those decisions both good ones and poor ones have shaped me to be the way I am. I like being me. I enjoy my life. No regrets!!!!
    No backing up with the toad, ever!!!!
    We hit the road as soon as we could (financially especially). Peter was 55 and I was 49. I figured it this was. I had fun/play for the first 5 years of my life. Then I went to school 22 years and worked 22 years. So now I get 44-5 = 39 more years of fun/play. We have been doing that now for 14 years. 25 more to go!!!!! Then I figure I am even. Worn out here and sliding in to heaven ready for the next adventure.

  22. You’re never too old to change. At the age of 59 Carol began working out on weights and lost 35 pounds. At the age of 63 we both began (resumed) jogging. We are now 67 and rejoice in our new fit, slimmer bodies. Nick, we met you at a rally daily a year ago. What we read today tells us you are limiting yourself. That affects your future health and well being. Look at what you daughter has accomplished. You can choose to do the same.

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