Saturday, August 28, 2010

Time Is A Precious Commodity

A little bit of our personal history:

Life is full of choices for everyone.  We make choices and then have to live with them.  Some choices turn out to have been good ones, and some turn out to be not so good.  I’ve found that sometimes folks judge us by our choices alone.  Seems like the bloggers over at Freely Living Life have found some judgmental people based upon their choice to be fulltimer’s with young children.  Read their post and you can see what I’m talking about.

Freely wrote at length about why they got into the RV lifestyle at an early age and are not working until they are old and gray.  It isn’t a choice some folks would make, but it suits Freely and their family.  More power to them!!!  I sincerely wish them well because we did something similar (minus the fulltime thing in the beginning).

I know that we have been blessed and are fortunate to be able to enjoy this adventure we are on.  Choosing an unconventional path isn’t for everyone.    

Bruce was 39 years old when he quit working and I was 35 at the time.  I did have a part time job as an Instructional Aide at an elementary school and I kept that just until our youngest graduated from high school.  Then I quit.  Bruce had a heart attack in 1993 when he was 46.  He did just fine after the recovery but it did cause us to think again about how we wanted to live our life.   Our son was getting married and our daughter was working….so we sold the house and began a short stint as fulltimer’s.

We followed that dream for 2 years and then relocated with our daughter to Olympia, Washington from California.  We bought a house and got a smaller RV for vacation travel and that was great….for a while.  Family considerations kept us from the fulltime lifestyle again until 2007 when my Dad passed away.

Let’s back up again to 1993. So then, why do I think we are fortunate and blessed to have had this time of no earned income helping our budget?  Time is the big answer.  If we had been working all of these last years we would not have had the time needed to help our family members.


My FIL passed away in 1990 and we were able to help Bruce’s mom with all of the business details and investment details that she had no clue about.  We had all the time in the world to take her on RV trips around the country.

In 1993 we sold our home in California and were in our RV when my brother soon became terminally ill with AIDS.  We had the time to take our RV back down to Southern California and stay by him through his time of need.  My parents were in Arizona (long story) and came over only 2 or 3 times to be with him.  We were with him for 2 months helping the home health care workers tend to him and we were by his side when he died.  He was not alone because we had time.


My grandmother lived in Arizona with my mom and dad and she began having health issues.  We were able to travel first from California and then down from Washington a few times a year to see her and visit.  Because we had time.  She later moved to Virginia to live with my cousin and before she died, Bruce and I got into the car and drove all the way to Virginia to see her one last time. Again, we could do this because we had time.

My mom and dad had to come to Washington to live next to us when mom developed terminal cancer.  We did not work so I had time to sit with her during chemo treatments and care for her and dad at home. 

Same situation with Bruce’s mom when she developed terminal breast cancer.  We had time to be with her and take her to chemo and generally be with her daily.

Also at the same time we babysat everyday for our Mackenzie from birth until she was one.  Because we had time.  We enjoyed it and it created a nice bond between us.

It wasn’t all just a leisure picnic.  We did a lot of hard work for the family during this time.  Yard work, house cleaning, handling business affairs, trips to the doctors on a weekly basis, and so forth.  All because we had time.


In 2006 and 2007 we had time to take my dad on a few RV trips including trips to Alaska and Nova Scotia.  He died shortly after the last trip, so we felt so happy we had taken him to those places.  They were his dream vacations.

When we decided to be “retired” at such early ages our friends down in California thought we were crazy.  How could you do that?  Don’t you want more money?  Those were a couple of the questions we were asked.  I know most of them were scratching their heads in amazement at how foolish we were being.  Retiring at an early age created the need to tone down our wants and desires with material things.  By taking this path we were never going to have enough money to do extensive world travel.  We would always have to be mindful of our spending. 

We made a lot of mistakes in the early years and spent too much money sometimes.  We have learned over the past 10 or 12 years to really tighten up the budget.  The stock market could have been a better friend to us the past several years, but who in the world couldn’t say that?  All in all, we are hanging in there.

Money is great….no denying that…..and you can’t live without it.  However, it will not:

* buy your health back

* buy you lost time

* create happiness

* let you feel truly free

We had always planned to retire when Bruce was about 55.  The opportunity presented itself much earlier and we took it.  Regrets about that?  None.  Our friends that thought we were crazy (but didn’t come out and say it) all have tons more money than we do.  A couple of them just quit working and they are between 65 and 70 years of age.  Others we know are still working in their early 60’s.  We know for a fact that it is by choice and not need.  That’s perfectly OK as long as that is their choice.  None of them will probably ever have to think twice before buying a new car, expensive jewelry, or taking a trip to Italy.  They worked (or are working) hard for the privilege of doing those things.


We feel blessed to be able to sit beside our RV and look up at the clouds in the heavens.  We may not be world travelers, but we are able to take our motorhome and travel at will through 2 countries….Canada and United States.  Between those 2 there are enough places to go to keep us happy.

This was a long post, sorry.  But as I was reading about Freely Living Life’s situation this just sort of all starting writing itself.  Hope you weren’t bored and you’ll come back again tomorrow for some interesting stuff we did here this weekend in Olympia.

Until next time… long for now!




Ruth said...

What a lovely blog. Yes, time is a wonderful thing to have. Before you know it, alot of it has gone by and you scratch your head and say where did it go, what have I done with it? You seem to be able to say that you did alot of very valuable things with your time...

pidge said...

Margie, I loved this post and can certainly relate. We spent all last year taking care of my brother that is terminal with a rare blood disorder. He stabelized, which allowed us a few months of travel before we return to Indiana to take care of him. We are the only ones in the family, in the position to be able to do this, and thank God we are.

Kenny And Angela's Adventure said...

Very well said, we think you guys are very blessed to do what you like doing.

We can't wait to join you.

Sarah said...

It really is an awful thing to be someone entirely convinced that working your entire life just to save up enough money to *perhaps* pay off a mortgage or live in a retirement community someday. I sincerely believe that the archetypical American Dream as we know it is a consumerist, debt-driven farce. As for the majority of working Americans are concerned, they work too hard, too often, and for too long to have anything remotely resembling a healthy work-life balance. They put all of their energy into building someone else's bottom line and it saddens me.

So, to see anyone -- of ANY age -- take that leap of faith and head into the world of full-timing gives me great pleasure. I think that deep down, anyone who disapproves of such a lifestyle is perhaps frightened of difference, envious of freedom and aware (even if on a subconscious level) that they are trapped inside the confines of their 40+ hour per week existence.

Heh. I think I feel as strongly about this topic as you do.

And thanks for mentioning Freely's blog. I've been reading it and I like it a lot!

Vera said...

This is a great post! Thanks for sharing your life with us. My husband retired at 48 and I was not working anyhow (at least not for monetary remuneration ☺). We were always the "younger" couple down South snowbirding but are glad we did because now we have to stay home due to a medical problem. We were never sorry that we retired early. We had a good time.

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

That was a wonderful writeup. Despite all the hardships, you have made the most of difficult situations and were there for your family.

You have an understanding of what is most important in life- how to spend that most important resource-time.

Sounds like you are happy with that decision. Many folks will never get that. For far too many "stuff" is most important.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

You said it in a nutshell.
You couldn't have done all those things for others, and that matters more than money.
Being there for someone is what counts.
Happy Trails, Penny, TX

Anonymous said...

Wow Margie what a great post, you have really hit the nail on the head with this post. More food for thought today than I can just about handle. Went and saw Eat Pray Love today lots of thought provoking ideas there as well.

I really think that God is trying to talk to me with all of these windows that he is opening and sharing with me today....

Thanks for sharing,

Happytrails said...

i appreciated you blog today. Life is all about CHOICES, and it seems you guys were very fortunate with the ones you made, I am happy for you! Family is so vitally important to Gerri & me and from reading your blog, it is vital to ya'll too. Your TIME allowed you many opportunities t help family members transition from this world, and have the time to share wwith them is such a loving way...God Bless.
Margie/Bruce, thanks for your perspectives on important things in this life.
Mike & Gerri

Rick and Paulette said...

I found your post tonight way more interesting and informative than long and I really enjoyed reading about how you and Bruce actually got into your current lifestyle and why. It sure made a lot of sense to me and I’m happy to see that you both have absolutely no regrets – why should you?
Just reading all of the accomplishments you have achieved by having, and taking, the time to be with members of your family who really needed you is a truly remarkable reward you both can look back on with great pride and satisfaction. It’s almost impossible to put a price tag on that kind of dedication and no amount of money would have ever substituted for the simple gesture of taking the time to be there and hold a loved one’s hand during a time of need.
So, congratulations on a job well-done – you and Bruce are truly ‘rich in mind and spirit’ and that always trumps plain old money!
I did click on Freely Living Life’s blog just to have a look at what they had to say. While I agree, in principle with a lot of their views, I was once again struck by the notion that they, and some RV’ers have (not you and Bruce I know) that to be “free” and to totally “enjoy freedom” one must be on the road fulltiming and abandon the old stix ‘n brix. That’s truly moronic as far as I’m concerned. People can enjoy “freedom of lifestyle” no matter what their circumstances – poor or rich; own a house, rent an apartment, live on a boat or fulltime in an RV. It doesn’t matter. It’s when folks try and put a label on why they feel they have achieved “freedom”, that I really wonder about how truly free they really are.

Hmm? I've read and reread this comment several times wondering about the last paragraph and should I post it? What the heck, it is how I feel, so why not?

Rick and Paulette said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kathy and Robert said...

Margie, this is one post I read more than once. What a beautiful testimony to following your heart and prioritizing the things in life that really matter. Youre so right that it's ime affords us more opportunity for those very things. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. :)
Blessings, K

Margie M. said...

RE Rick's comment: Rick is 100% correct in his comment. I agree with what he wrote about fulltime RVing is not the be-all and end-all to happiness. It isn't for everyone. People can be part-time RVer's or no-time RVer's (meaning no RV ownership) and still be fullfilled and happy folks. Rick and I have exchanged e-mails on this subject a few months ago and know we see eye to eye on this topic. Happiness comes from within and not from where we live. Just a P.S. to my original post!

Judy and Emma said...

Very moving post, Margie. Thanks for sharing your story. Time, truly, is of the essence. :)


A well written post Margie & I understood very well everything you said. I have tried several times to explain the 'why' factor in RVing but you have done a much better job here. You guys are very fortunate that your minds thought as one through all that because without both parties in full agreement about a dream....the dream just is not going to happen in an easy flowing manner. Four years ago I thought we would have been fulltiming by now, but...............:((

Kimberly and Jerry Peterson said...

Thanks so much for the post, it was not long or boring, it was enlightening!

Have sent several emails back and forth to Freely since we too have been told several times that we should not be out here.

We've been told, we are too young, we didn't and still don't have a nest egg big enough for..., we have no other income but any employment we pick up. The list continues but we love it that we continue to prove all those naysayers wrong.

We are grateful that we began living our dream when we did and that it continues to be the best decision we have ever made, even though many still think we're out of our minds!

Wild Blue Yonder said...

Hey Margie, good post.
Everyone must learn to live their own path, regardless of where it takes them. I totally agree with the people in their late 60's (or 70's where my parents are concerned) that are still working because they have expensive hobbies or have made some bad financial decisions.
I think if you get the chance to have a break from working every day and learn to live your life, you will see what you really want to do rather than what you feel obligated to do.
I'm glad to read you had time for your relatives too. That is so important. Time can be such a thief!

Wayne and Roberta said...

Margie what a great post! How wonderful that you were able to be with so many of your family members during their time of need - All because you had the Time!

Carol K said...

I appreciate your thoughtfulness in posting this and other topics that you write about. It's all food for thought. I was going to comment that some people work so long and so hard and they don't have the time to spend together or with others. But that's a choice, too, and more power to them if they want to spend all their time working.

Most people, though, don't approach death thinking, "Oh, how I wish I had spend more time at work!" Most people wish they could get back the precious TIME that they lost while working.

Your non-judgmental attitude is wonderful. Keep up the good work and use of your time, Margie and Bruce!

Gypsy said...

Eloquently said, Margie.

Sam&Donna Weibel said...

Margie what a great post, as you know Donna & I are going through what you did, albiet at an earlier age, with health problems with our family members, not complaining as I realize we are the only ones left to take this load. I hope God let's us all enjoy the years to come and we will be able to join you on the road. Be safe out there, Sam & Donna.

Freely Living Life said...


First I want to say thank you for mentioning us in your blog post! Your post was wonderful and right on! Having the time in life to be with the ones you love is simply priceless! I am so glad to hear you and Bruce enjoyed time with the mentioned family members while you had the chance. What a wonderful experience it must have been for each one of them.

And because there's always one in the crowd, I will now respond to Ricks comment (or opinion rather)...

First of all thank you for "clicking on Freely Living Life’s blog JUST to have a look at what they we had to say".

Second of all...
"some RV’ers have (not you and Bruce I know) that to be “free” and to totally “enjoy freedom” one must be on the road fulltiming and abandon the old stix ‘n brix."

Can you please tell me where in my blog I say this exact phrase? I mean sure I refer to Stix n Brix a time or two because my husband and I have owned several properties in our lifetime already. We can honestly say we know ALL about home ownership and all the work that goes along with it. But never once did I say that you had to live the RV lifestyle to be FREE and HAPPY. Obviously I write about RVing being freedom because thats the life we are living right now. Our blog is to inspire people to get out in the world and LIVE. Not go out and buy and RV and thats the only path to freedom. Perhaps you should have thought twice about posting such an ignorant comment. Not only are you putting words in my mouth but then you had the audacity to insult me a second time by saying:

"That’s truly moronic as far as I’m concerned."

Moronic? Seriously? Come on now! I guess since its YOU that put these words in my mouth then you must be referring to yourself as the moron. Fitting.

"People can enjoy “freedom of lifestyle” no matter what their circumstances – poor or rich; own a house, rent an apartment, live on a boat or fulltime in an RV. It doesn’t matter."

EXACTLY. And if you actually took the time to read our blog (not just read one post) then you would see that we inspire ALL walks of life. Notice the EARTH that sits in the hand in the upper left hand corner of our blog. The EARTH that includes EVERYONE.....not JUST Rvers.

"It’s when folks try and put a label on why they feel they have achieved “freedom”, that I really wonder about how truly free they really are."

Showing your ignorance again I see. I am not putting labels on myself or anyone else. And I can honestly tell you that we are FREE! We are living the most freedom that anyone our age can live at this very moment. And no it doesn't HAVE to involve an RV, that just happens to be our choice of shelter for right now.

Now if you'll excuse me I have some emails to return to my readers. The ones that actually appreciate my inspiration and encouragement to get out and start LIVING today.

My apologizes for the lengthy comment. But when someone insults and attacks you in such a manner it needs to be tastefully dealt with.

Dennis and Donna said...

Well put...Time is of the essence, so to speak...and we are "short timers"...

John and Carol said...

Margie, thank you for telling us about how you spent your TIME and what was importnat to you and your husband. What a wonderful gift of time you gave to all your loved ones. In the hussle and bustle of life, having time for others is a wonderful gift and great choice.

Karen and Al said...

Thank you for the very interesting post. I appreciate knowing your history a little more.

It seems you have enjoyed your lives AND been there for your family. What could be better?

JB said...

Great post, like others I had to read it twice, and go through the comments a couple of times also. Wow, I think I am still awaiting my 24th comment in total not for just one post. Obviously you hit a topic many folks have differing opinions on. My wife and I are living fulltime in our RV but we still own stix and brixs that for the summer months is serving as a pretty well appointed casita back here on the farm down the road from Dogpound. God willing and the creeks don't rise we will be heading out in a couple of months after our annual exile to the northern ranges.

Sue and Doug said...

Margie..I guess I have been out of the loop for a few days??..just read your last two posts and all the comments? are getting quite the for how you and Bruce are spending your time ?..good for you!!..amen to being able to spend time with your family!!..cherish all the memories no matter what you are doing!!
Life is short!!

Maureen said...

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.