Emotional Stuff

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. 

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25 thoughts on “Emotional Stuff

  1. I love this honest and profound post. While I only know you through your words and our interactions on mutual posts, I think you are a man like your grandfather. The different stages of life teach us and mold us. When we were planning for our imminent life on the road, there were a myriad of emotions swirling about. As I look back, I see it was a time of personal growth–I was finally able to be true to myself when I shed the ‘me’ that was defined by my career and being a parent. During that shedding (figuratively and realistically), it made grief, excitement, doubts, dreams, and desires all come to the surface–some of it was raw and intense and others more insidious. It was part of the process for me. It’s a time of changing our surroundings, what we call ‘home,’ and who we are as we’ve defined ourselves in a cookie-cutter society. Emotions are good and healthy and it’s important to acknowledge them. Your post was beautifully written. P.S. Thank you for your service as a police officer. Dawn

    Liked by 1 person

    • Change is good I totally agree,Mark. We all deal with our emotions differently. We are called individuals for that reason.
      God love your openness on your emotions as I wear mine on my shoulder which can be good and bad. Dennis and I look so forward to our full time rving in T minus 4 years. Lots to think about and “stuff” to get rid of including both of our homes,too. Thank you for doing a lot of the research for us per se. We plan on buying in tour new rig and 5th wheel in two years.

      Keep blogging and speaking your mind

      Penny from WI

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Penny,

        One emotion I fight is anger. Nothing physical of course, just real upset and sometimes way more than I should. It’s hard to explain. I know for sure I bring crap home to Karen and that’s not fair. Because when someone you love that much is upset we tend to take it on ourselves even to the point we think we did something wrong to them.

        T minus 4 years will be here very soon. We say trash day is Tuesday and make sure to fill up the bin:) Good plan to get the fifth wheel early. I think it would have been easier for us if we purchased ours two years early, rather than the one year we plan on. Having anything to look forward to is a plus. Such as takng a long weekend. I just did not have the vacation time to take at work. Well, that’s not completly fair. I wanted to mass up all the vacation I can save to be used in 2018 and expecially 2019. We are on the downhill side of this. Three years ago it seemed like such a long time away. I’m taking it in steps. Next August I’ll be 55 and can pull the plug at work. But, staying until the end of October in 2019 adds a little to the retirement. Figure I’ll be gone at least nine weeks that year anyway – on vacation!

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  2. From one type A to another (yes we have similar personality traits) let me share this with you… It will amaze you at how much stress will be lifted once you hit the road and get past the learning curve of living life day to day as RV vagabonds. The other lesson I can offer up is that you really need to take on the attitude of “Live and let live” as it worked wonders for me and my frustration levels. Like you I am lucky to have a wife that provides the yin for my yang… she is everything I am not and perfectly balances out my rough edges. Look forward to seeing you two on the road someday…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for the advice. That’s something I can do something with. Live and let live sounds doable. Frankly, I’m tired of fighting it. As long as it does not harm myself or family, who cares.

      When I have those moments and cannot recall a detail, such as John and Sharon’s name, I tell Karen “you know the bubbly couple from Texas – what’s their name again.” You guys seemed so happy when we met. And it appeared you had the lifestyle figured out. Good to have friends like you,

      You also said we would be moving up our date to leave, when at the time it was something like seven years out. We did. So now I listen to your words carefully. Hopefully we will get past the learning curve of living life day to day in an RV – quickly. Hope it is helping to do all this planning.

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  3. Ok Brother…THAT was incredible….
    As your Sister, I have always loved you unconditionally…in fact…in MY eyes, you are The Best Man I Know…next to Dad 😌
    I couldn’t understand better, about “Living” your life, as I’m headed there myself. When I’m finished with this last stint…I will be joining you and Karen as often as I can.
    Thank you for talking to us today, for letting us know your heart…and for being You. Love you Brother…

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    • Mary you so much would love this RV crowd. Then again, with all the camping you do you most likely figured that one out. We want to see you on the road whenever you have a chance. Now that your with Delta maybe they can fly you in when we are near something good or just for a family fix.

      You have been a rock for me over many years. Thank you for helping me to understand at times what is going on. Keep up your spirit as well. Take time for yourself, we got this.

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  4. I get a little emotional too. Parts of this blog did cause my eyes to water. My goal is to become a better person today than I was yesterday. As Marilyn Hickey says, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”

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    • Thank you for those emails Russ. I read the topics and will gladly jump in an read them.

      I’m thankful to God for giving me a chance to live long enough to gain my humanity. Even as I have things to work through today, I’m far ahead of where I was at 25 years of age.

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  5. Well said, Mark! God bless you and your wife in your travels! My wife and I are still hoping next year will be our year. We are working on fixing up our house still to sell and selling what we can on eBay, Craigslist, and the rest at yard sales before giving what’s left to Salvation Army.
    Still so much to do (like actually buy the RV and the Cummins Ram to pull it!)
    I look forward to meeting up on that long and winding road…

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  6. Hay Bryan, good to hear from you.

    Sounds like we are in about the same place in preparation but you guys are heading out a little sooner. We have to crack down on getting ready to go as well. Sometimes I work better with a deadline. Figure I don’t want that becoming the real estate agent telling us we have a month to move out without having most of this stuff gone. I’m keeping my ears open around work in case some young people need something or they hear someone had a fire at home and needs the help. For now, we are still dealing with the stuff one piece at a time.

    Thanks for the blessing and stopping by.

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  7. Sometimes just venting helps. I think we’ve all been here and there at some point. You’ve no doubt heard the Serenity Prayer. You’ll figure it out as you go, like the rest of us. And there are always many of us out hear that’ll help out and listen when needed 🙂 You’re on your way!

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    • Hi Debbie, thanks for stopping by. I’m thinking change starts when one really recognizes there needs to be change. For me, that’s in attitude. I’ve actually taken steps in the last two days to apply a few suggestions others passed along. Might just be feeling better and hope it gets addicting. Live and let live. That was a good one. Fact is, an exciting part of life is on the way. Being older alone helps in terms of putting up with the issues.

      Missed Traci and Lee when they came through town on their way north to see you guys. But did not want to hinder their movement by suggesting a meet up. Missed another blogger when they came through recently as well. They stopped in Odessa Missouri and I was thinking they had to have something on an axle replaced. Can’t recall the name but they are popular. Figure you would have known them.

      Tell your husband I learned a lot when you guys came through about home office work. Going with a laptop because of it.

      Be safe.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow…I was so moved by your post Mark. You really opened up and put yourself out there but I think that’s great. I so related to your comments about being a youngish police officer with the RV Park in one of your patrol districts. While my story is slightly different, it is similar. As a city employee I could not understand why anyone would live in an RV and stay weeks at a time in an RV Park and thought there must surely be something wrong with them – no money, or some type of problem they were hiding from, etc. Oh my, how blind I was and here we are ready to go full-time in a matter of days. I am just so thankful that we learned more about this wonderful RV Life – starting with Howard & Linda Payne (RV-Dreams) and since then have followed so many other bloggers that have just continued to spark our interest in this wonderful and interesting life. Yes, you and Karen have earned this and we look forward to when we see you “on the road”.

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    • Hi Cheri,

      “Going full-time in a matter of days” – bet you are relieved! You and Dean got this. Can’t wait to hear in your blog how it feels to leave behind the old house and responsibilities. Good part for you guys is you have been out on the road for so many extended times I’ll bet Bentley already feels like home.

      I wonder if 22 years ago, when I was in that patrol district, if full-timing was something people planned or just fell into for some reason. Then again, I used to meet people 15 or 20 years ago that talked about having spent time in the desert for the winter in their RV. Then about four years ago I learned about the Q.

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  9. Just found your blog and this post — you’re spot-on with your thoughts and feelings; many of us have been there. We’ve been full-timing since the spring of 2009 and there are two quotes that come to mind after reading your post:

    “Everywhere you go, there you are.” I think this might be Jamaican or Native American, but I’m not sure. It reminds me that I don’t change just because I go someplace different. Yes, some places affect us deeply, but they don’t change us — only we can change ourselves.

    “Let go, let God.” You’ve been hit with a lot of stuff as a police officer — RVing can be a lot like that. After nine summers (and eight winters) as a full-time RVer, I can truly fill books with things we’ve experienced, good and bad. Some of it was extremely stressful. When I finally got into the habit of trying not to control everything, when I finally remembered to repeat “Let go, let God” when things got (and still get) bad, it’s easier. There’s a long list of stuff you don’t have to think of with a sticks-and-bricks house that can be disastrous if you don’t attend to them in an RV.

    Yes, the full-time lifestyle is amazing. But it’s not perfect. Anyone looking for it to solve their problems will be disappointed. Instead, learning to embrace the unknown, go with the flow, expect the unexpected… well, that’s the key.

    I’ll keep following — meantime I wish you both the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for following the blog Ellen. With nine years of fulltimer experience I’ll bet you are one to know.

      I appreciate you taking the time to add the quotations and insight regarding expectations while on the road. I have little doubt we are exchanging some potential problems with newer ones. I’m thinking the RV will be a lot less to work on than what there is in our sticks and bricks. I’m one of those that likes keeping things clean and repaired, nothing out of place. Can’t do that with a sticks and bricks unless that’s all you do in your spare time. So I hardly try now.

      Knowing myself, I started working on going with the flow a couple years ago. Maybe age is helping more with that compared to any steps I’ve taken. For sure, going with the flow is a must to survive long-term fulltiming. I can do it and Karen already has that done because she is easy going to start with.

      Please come back and add what you can to the conversation. I’d trust your opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Mark – how awesome of you to open yourself up! How awesome to admit to being a complainer – because as you may or may not have heard – you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge, so if you don’t want to be a complainer anymore – you’ve taken the first step!
    I can relate a little bit to what your wife may be feeling – I believe you’ve read in my blog about how Bill, back in our previous life, was not his best “at home” (a complainer, Mr. Negativity, Mr Doom & Gloom, etc) self due to his job pressures. It was one of the more important factors in my pushing toward us leaving earlier than our original 5 year plan. I am happy to report, I have my husband back and yes, there are still some complaints, etc, but they are much fewer and further between. YAY!
    It is my hope for you that once you leave the job stresses behind and open yourself up fully to this crazy full-time RV lifestyle, your Mrs will be proven right, and you will see that 80% (actually I think that % is higher among full-timers) of us are awesome – and that’s who you need to spend your time with!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by Kelly. I’ve been following your post at Amazon. Hoping to meet up someday soon and for sure once we hit the road. Assuming you guys still plan to travel in the next two years. If not, we will swing by your place wherever that may be.

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