I want to share an e-mail I received yesterday from a couple facing a common dilemma for new fulltime RVers:
“Nick, we need advice! We started fulltiming in October, 2012 and it has quickly turned into a nightmare. It’s not because of the traveling or problems with our coach or because we can’t adjust to living in such a small space. It’s because we always seem to be making somebody mad or disappointing them because we can’t go visit them or don’t stay as long as they expect us to when we do. We have a son who lives in Minnesota with his family, another son in Pennsylvania, and a daughter who is married to a soldier stationed in Texas. Add to that Jim’s widowed mother who lives in our old hometown in Ohio, my parents who divide their time between a home in Chicago and a winter place in Florida, and various brothers and sisters in Ohio, Illinois, Arizona, and New Jersey. They all expect us to come visit them, to help with projects like reroofing a house, to be there for every family event, and on and on. And many times we are expected to be in two places halfway across the country from each other at the same time! When we were planning to fulltime we made a list of places we really wanted to see and things we really wanted to do. To date the only thing we have crossed off the list is visiting Washington, D.C. for a day. The rest of the time has been spent trying (and usually failing) to make other people happy, and in the meantime we are miserable.”
Many fulltimers find that the demands placed upon them by family and friends takes away the sense of freedom they sought when they began the RV lifestyle. Either they don’t do the things they want to, like the folks who wrote me above, or else they feel guilty because they do.
The thing to remember here is that it’s your life and you need to live it in a manner that makes you happy. Because, as this couple pointed out, sometimes you can’t keep everybody else happy no matter how hard you try.
We train people how to treat us. If we allow them to dictate what we will do and when we will do it, the only people to blame are ourselves. On the other hand, if we set limits on what we will do and how we will live our lives, they will come to accept it, even if they don’t like it.
It’s okay to be selfish. It doesn’t make you a bad person. Just because you may be retired and mobile doesn’t mean you have an obligation to become everybody’s babysitter, construction helper, or whatever.
It’s okay to say, “I’m sorry, we have other plans. But we do look forward to getting together sometime when it works for all of us.”
Thought For The Day – There is no such thing as perfect, there is just me, and I’m okay with that.