Friday, March 05, 2010

Two in love can live on the edge of a sword

It just occurred to me that we began this journey four years ago this month, when I got the crazy notion that we should ditch 90% of our material possessions, move into a trailer the size of my brother's walk-in closet and head for a place we'd never even visited before.

And so older son Ian and I found ourselves on a cold March day, in a sodden parking lot, inspecting a battered 35-year-old trailer that smelled like well-aged piss and deteriorating foam cushions. It was horrible, but had a good floor plan and appeared structurally sound. We bought it before we could talk ourselves out of the idea.

We spent the next several months ripping and renovating, and in July I started this blog. But lately I find myself floundering. What's the point? Time to go back to the beginning and start afresh.

Back in July of 2006 I began my first post with this:

I've come to a point in life where the material accumulations of a lifetime are weighing on me. And, though I speak in the singular, I think "We've come". Thankfully for my mental health my significant other shares my feelings. So, we have begun to divest ourselves of the collected bits 'n pieces of 40 years together. Early in our marriage we could move house in the trunk of the '59 Ford we'd named Rocinante (after Don Quixote's reluctant plow-nag). Two in love can live on the edge of a sword.

Then came babies who became growing boys. We needed some things and wanted others. He built model ships, planes and lovely furniture. I sculpted, painted, quilted, collected dolls, china and antique linens. Our children made wonderful things for us. We inherited beautiful things from generations past. We clutched at our possessions and they clutched back. Like fractious infants they demanded tending. I worried about spots on the crystal, wrinkles in the tablecloth and dust collecting on 200 "objects d'art".

One day it dawned on me that everything I own owned me back. That's fine when you have the interest and motivation to keep up with your mutual ownership, but time marches on, and I find myself without either. I would rather spend my energy elsewhere. Our children thought we had finally flipped our collective lid when we said we were simplifying our lives enough to move into a 25' long travel trailer, and head for warmer climes. I suppose time will tell. Lids may have been flipped, but, in our own minds, we are preparing to move back onto the edge of the sword.


Surprisingly the transition has been almost painless. We've had a huge amount of help from our sons, from friends, and from people we've hired to fill in the occasional gap. The tiny trailer has been swapped out for a newer, larger and much better equipped one, but the principle remains the same. Live as simply as is comfortable. Enjoy every day, every hour, even those which are uncomfortable. Listen to your body and follow its wisdom. Stretch your boundaries.

As we enter year five, who knows what we will discover?


Steven Fletcher said...

Great Post Deb. Do you have wonder lust too... or just enjoy the simple life RVing allows?

For Fran and I it's both and sometimes it's hard to say which is the strongest attraction.

Our kids still don't really understand our lifestyle but after 10 years they have accepted it.

Hope to meet you on the road someday.

Deb said...

Hi Steven,
We exhausted our wanderlust when we were young. We moved something like 30 times, and both of us moved a lot as kids too, because of our Dads' work.

It was fun and we're glad we did it, but now we have no desire to travel farther than to the mailbox and back. We've got the wheels blocked and the skirt on. :)


Anonymous said...

I think you have had a few years daily practice in your lifestyle change and you are finding your balance ever so gracefully and with wisdom gain you could never have imagined.