Planning for a future in an RV is not all about the finances. Money is just the means to an end. Whether one wants to retreat to an RV roaming the country or just stay put inside a home while the world swirls around them, to me it still is about the emotions of it all.
I’ve been thinking about this blog post for a long, long time. Mostly because it involves putting myself out there and disclosing the person I’ve turned out to be – at least to some extent. I’ve read other’s awesome blog posts or stories about their journeys in life and have always appreciated their willingness to post about, for lack of a better word, emotions. I know they open themselves up to criticism. Maybe because others may not have caught the jest of the message or the writer failed to come up with words to explain something important to them. For those that take the time to let their feelings out, I for one thank you. Seeing the not so good sides of a lifestyle helps paint realistic expectations for those of us getting ready to start navigating down the same road. And for sure, reading about the good times is refreshing.
The stable person in me can respond to a catastrophe such as a terrible car accident or horrible things that happened to a person or family. I can take charge and know 100% what needs to be accomplished. There will be little emotion in those decisions as they are based on experience and training.
The not so stable person inside of me I tend to regard as the emotional person. I am unable to have a 15-minute conversation with anyone about the crucifixion of Christ without crying. Especially if I give much thought to the Trinity wherein God is three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit just as water takes three forms (a liquid, solid and vapor). Each is the same in different forms. What gets me emotional is when I think of God doing what he did for people like me. Being nailed to a cross and having the ability to make the pain go away but not saving himself. Or as the Father, watching his Son in agony to the point his Son asks why he has forsaken him. I don’t deserve it and cannot imagine the love God has for sinful people like myself. If you have not watched the movie The Shack, do so.
I’ve given much thought over the years as to what has made me the man I am today and how these features in myself will play out in the future. Coming up with a format for this post has been next to impossible. I found myself wanting a template to follow and even refreshed my understanding of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, referred to as personality theories. Fundamentally I know we all are very similar. That is how it’s possible to guess how each of us might respond to life’s issues or more specifically, why it’s possible to understand where a person is at mentally or as part of a society.
I tend to think, in terms of Maslow’s theory, that we bounce between lows and highs in his triangle of needs. At times we feel we have everything under control. And then other times we fear for or safety which is a primitive need per Maslow. At the top of his list as we develop as a person is self-actualization. This level of need refers to what a person’s full potential is and the realization of that potential. Maslow describes this level as the desire to accomplish everything that one can, to become the most that one can be. I’ve read that in his later years Maslow explored a further dimension of needs he titled self-transcendence. As I understand it, this next step is when we find our “actualization” by giving to some higher goal outside oneself, in altruism and spirituality. Personally, I’ve got a better way to describe the ultimate realization of being all you can be. My father used to say all we can hope for is being content with where we are at in life. My uncle told me anything can change in ten years. I witnessed the greatest person I had ever seen. He was not a famous movie star nor ruler of man. He was my grandfather. I watched him in his hospital bed sometime before his death, he was holding his son’s hands as they flanked each side of his bed. He gave them comfort only a father could do. My uncle and dad were strong men, well advanced in their understanding of life but still needed a father’s hand. I personally had to leave the room, standing in a stairwell to keep the tears to myself.
I am a complainer by nature. I was that way as a child and am as an adult. I’m not proud of it. I sometimes complain when there is not something to complain about, that’s how bad I am. I don’t want to become the elderly person that lives near us, alone in a house. This person is a complainer and family does not even come around anymore. I’m glad the roof of the house is relatively flat because when she lands on her broom on top of her roof she will not fall off. She can be a witch and every other word that rhymes with it. I’ve also been around her when she was a caring, giving person. But she drifted in between these good and bad emotions and now is surely lonely. That is not the person I care to become.
I’m a type A personality. If you look up the definition in Webster’s book, you will find my name listed in the description of what the word means. I’ll look it up – “related to, characteristic of, having, or being a personality that is marked by impatience, aggressiveness, and competitiveness and that has been implicated by some studies as a factor increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease – see Mark Seneker.”
I don’t want to die of a heart attack before I get a chance to see the Grand Canyon. But I now where these personality traits come from. And if I know that then I also know how I can change for the better. This trait comes from at times having to take care of myself as a child and at times not trusting anyone for my safekeeping other than myself. The only way, I assumed, to make sure things worked out was to do it myself and therefore to depend only on myself. I know that’s not reality because we all need each other. I know that’s not reality because there are so many good people in life that care about others. I know that is not possible because every time I look at my wife and her caring personality, that wraps herself around another’s needs while at the same time doing her best to take care of herself. She humbles me, and I trust her. For my own Maslow step in life, I need to be around more people like her.
As a youngish police officer there was an RV park in one of my patrol districts. There were older trailers parked there, which I now know can be referred to as long-term campers. And there were newer RV’s that stopped for the night. The place was run down, and I never could understand why anyone from out of town would stop there. Now I know that’s all they were doing; just stopping for the night to rest and today would just post a comment on rvparkreviews.com warning others what to expect. As a cop, I viewed everyone in the park as a potential problem. Although now that I think about it, I met a lot of good people when responding to calls there. Some had financial problems, and some were just parked to work construction in the area. Some had children they sent off to school while they worked nearby minimum wage jobs. Others were drunks and received all the wrath I had to offer if they did not behave. Boy does life change in full circles. Now I’m looking to move my wife and I into RV parks at times. Little did I known there were people in that RV park in my patrol district that were just stopping by on their way to a wonderful location where no camera can take a picture of its wonderfulness. I guess I’m growing and reaching another step. Karen and I live in Missouri. As part of a future RV family we have met people from New England and New York, from Kansas and California, from Texas and Michigan. All are wonderful people and I never once wished the visit would end. I for one need those kinds of people around me. Maybe it’s because of their ages and having completed similar life challenges and that is what binds us. I care not to overthink it, I’ll just assume we are likeminded people with common goals.
Another personality trait of Mark is I get frustrated with others. To the point it causes stress and brings on a pain in my right chest. I’ve had many discussions with counselors about this. Two preachers, a phycologist and only my closest friends of which there are not many. I’ll describe when I get frustrated as briefly as possible. Co-workers who are not doing the best they can drive me nuts. Children and adults who are not taking responsibility for what they have done or have not done, drive me nuts. People drifting through life, seemingly unaware of nor caring about those around them, drive me nuts. Preachers said pay attention to those that are not doing any of the above and ignore those that are. Counselors say come up with coping mechanisms. Some friends would not say anything, thinking it would harm our relationship. But close friends say shut-up and find something to be happy about because there is a lot of good people I’ll meet in life. Fact is, I’m positive at one time or another I have not done my job the best I could, or I’ve not taken responsibility for my actions or I ignored those around me. I hope others have not judged me the same that I have judged them.
I had first intended to lump this post into categories which have nothing to do with finances but are another part of RVing. Such as relationships, standards of comfort, ability to compromise, physical limitations and it’s time for a change. No need. Those out there new to the lifestyle, planning for their trip or have been there done that, all understand. Just like those that were police officers understand the emotions of the job and we don’t have to talk about it much with one another. Other’s may not understand our humor or coarseness. I hope one preacher got it right. That once I leave the job I’ll find out 80% of people are good and not anything like the 20% I lock up. He also says that will be the hardest part of it all, that is becoming part of the good society. I’ll admit, I use the struggles of the job as a crutch to blame the pain on. And the guys and gals I work around really are the best this country has to offer. I’ve been to their funerals, retirements and picked them up off the side of the road after they were injured. They do their jobs everyday which at times might include just showing up. I’m pretty sure I’ve not violated any department policy about posting on public media about the job with these comments.
Fact is, there is much to my life outside of work and my past experiences in general. I’m failing to recognize the good in life. To sum it up, Mark needs a change and my family, especially my wife, deserve a changed Mark. I think I’m getting a handle on myself, or at least trying to. Planning for a future in an RV, the travel, the down time, being with family and you sure is making the waiting more tolerable. I don’t know if I can ever become the man my grandfather was. But if I intend to I best get started.
I’ll close this emotional me with this. There are many times in life when a change is in order. It helps us grow as people. It renews our inner selves. It pushes us up a step in Maslow’s chart. It makes the pain go away. And, for sure, there will come another day when change will be in life’s order. I tell myself I’m getting ready to release the new me. I’ve earned it and so have others around me.
I read this through for typing errors. It’s my blog and I’ll write what I want to. Even if it’s about my emotions.