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…..so long for now!