Thursday, September 29, 2011

Facing the Unamed Fears of Living On The Road

This started out as a reply to fellow Road Warriors who are facing some pretty scary fears of the weather on the road, in answering and supporting them I realized I had been facing this same challenge myself, almost to the point of wanting to set down roots in some RV park somewhere and never moving again. Here is my reply and some follow up thoughts on this...
Being Full Timers, I know well what you are experiencing, we cancelled our Events in Texas and Oklahoma last Spring because I had an unnamed dread of being hurt in the weather.

Turned out the weather was fine and I felt pretty dumb, but two years before we were nearly hit by a tornado in Oklahoma had had fist sized hail demolish our truck glass and dent our truck and fiver, it make me a bit skittish about that part of the country during the storm season...Here is the video I made during the storm.


I also have had a dread of an accident on the road, to the point of almost having panic attacks, it has gone on for nearly a year now, so I am starting to deal with it and spend a lot of time deep breathing and assuring myself it will all be OK.

I think it has much to do with our lifestyle, we are at the mercy of the elements and bad weather a bit more than "Sticks and bricks" folks, maybe not so much more so, but it seems we are more vulnerable because we have no sturdy shelter to resort to in many cases while we are mobile.

We are also more likely to be in a accident then other folks, we make a big target and we spend more hours on the road than the average commuter.

Trying to get a hold of our fears is the largest challenge we face, I don't want to resort to the false sense of security a regular home brings, so it's mind over matter and just keep rolling....

I do understand what you are experiencing though, just want to let you know you are not alone.

One of the reasons we ended up making the decision to leave the security of a corporate job and solid "sticks and bricks" home was that we realized that all security is an illusion, and if you think your safe from bad things, think again.

Bad things will find you wherever you are, no matter how well you insulate yourself from reality. Everyone gets sick, everyone has accidents, everyone loses the ones they love and the job they thought would last forever. We all die. There is no getting around it.

Creating and keeping a false sense of security will only set you up for mental disaster when the inevitable happens. Living in a constant state of paranoia and dread also has a life limiting effect. There has to be some sort of balance.

I hate people who quote TV shows and such, preferring to hear platitudes about real life, but there is a wonderful moment in, (of all things), The musical "Oklahoma" when the Spinster Auntie says to the young disappointed Bride on her wedding day, "Sometimes you just have to pull yourself up and say, 'Well, All right then!' to the bad things that happen to you and just get on with things".

She advises the young Lady not to always expect perfection and nice things. She tells her that bad things will happen, regardless of how well you live your life. Sometimes bad things happen to good people for no reason. You just have to put it behind you and just keep going.

Dwelling on the past mistakes and accidents, or foreshadowing the future with dread will not get you going in the direction of your dreams. I know people who lived their entire lives in a "Bubble of Safety and Security" who filed their own dreams away because the path was risky and not assured of easy success.

Imagine their surprise and disappointment when they still had misfortune visit them on a regular basis, that on top of the sure and devastating knowledge that they never achieved the true path of their lives in exchange for a false sense of security! This mindset set them on the path of destruction for sure and for real.

I don't believe in "Destiny" per say as much as I believe that we are all created, (By the Creator or Force of your own personal Choice), with a certain set of talents and goals to be achieved in this "Once Go Round" of life on this planet.

Strangely, that which we must be is the thing we fear to do the most. What? You heard me. If you truly love something you want to protect it close to your heart and don't want it trampled on by the world. Perhaps an illustration of this point is needed.

Charles is a writer. He is a very good writer who has been told he has promise. Promise doesn't pay the bills, so Charles works at a Factory, but writes into the late night, pouring out his soul on paper.

Charles has a wife and Kids so he keeps working and writing on the side, after all, he has to take care of those he loves, which is right and proper. The few articles he publishes are well received, but as yet, there is no financial reward in his work of the heart. As his Kids grow and the bills mount, Charles writes less and his writing lacks spark since he is so tired fulfilling everyone Else's dreams. His writing gets rejected on a regular basis because of this.

Charles stops writing and puts his nose to the grindstone taking care of family business, but a little bit of him dies everyday. Eventually the Kids are grown and the obligations of life are partially lifted from him. But Charles eye has grown dull. Perhaps he has taken up drinking or drugs to soothe his artists heart. His wife no longer takes notice of him. His writings are laying in a trunk in a back room, gathering dust.

All of this is right and proper, the common experience of every man or woman who stumbles into this world and tries to do the right thing. Charles has done what is right by all the world and has in his struggle lost an important piece of himself, perhaps the most important piece, the thing he was truly born to do.

But what now? How does the story end? Does Charles disappear into that dark night or does he stumble across his ancient scratchings and begin anew his writing career with the knowledge he as gained as he struggled to conform to this wretched world?

All of us face this mental challenge at some time in our life, and we must, at some time, take a "fearless moral inventory", (Yes, I am quoting the Twelve Steps of AA), and decide that regardless of what path we have followed in our march towards conformity and world favor that at some point that talented, depressed and sadder-but-wiser person within us must be hearkened to.

As Willy Loman's wife says to her children in "Death of a Salesman" " Willy Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper. He's not the finest character that ever lived. But he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He's not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must finally be paid to such a person."

We all have a Willy Loman inside of us and regardless of what we have sacrificed or achieved in this world for others, there comes a moment when we all must pay attention to ourselves, no matter what the cost, no matter how much we fear to expose ourselves to the possible failure of our dreams. What is the alternative? Do we really have a choice at this point?

The reason we now live on the road as we do is because we took care of business for 50 years. we struggled, paid bills, raised kids and did just about everything we were supposed to do. We also battled depression, drug addiction and failure as most other people do who actually try to live a life less followed.

The day came when we realized that we had become cardboard cut outs of the American Dream. Successful, somewhat wealthy, infinitely sure that we were on the right path. 

Then a small voice that we had silenced for decades began whispering in our ears, seducing us with visions of driving down the road, wind in our hair, being FREE. This voice became louder and more persistent until it had to be addressed.

We listened. We considered the possibility. We took a risk and cut our ties to the real world. After all, we could always go back to our lesser lives in disgust and despair if it failed, it would always be there waiting for us.

And so, today we find ourselves here, not really knowing if we did the right thing, having experienced both the good and bad of a lifestyle chosen by whim. Did we do the right thing? We may never know. But that still small voice inside us is quiet now, other than to occasionally encourage us to take a day off and go to the beach.

Do your best for your Family and Career, but there will come a point when you must be paid attention to. Listen to that voice. Your real life may be just around the corner.

How do you know if this article is about you? Your still reading it aren't you? Sometimes the truth comes from strange places, Wipe your tears of regret and muster up the courage to start taking reasonable steps towards your dreams, one step at a time, one day at a time.

Even if you fail miserably at what you know you should do, you will have at least tried, and that makes all the difference in this great pageant we call life.

3 comments:

hobopals said...

My husband and I were very happy, traveling. We were too busy to worry. What a shame it would have been if we did because he died when we were safe and sound back in the stix and brix making plans for our next trip that was nine days away.

Doyle and Terri Johnson said...

I am so sorry you lost your best friend and travel companion. I almost lost my husband last Fall, it was too close, so now we are not only traveling and enjoying it more, we are cutting back on working so hard so we have more time to enjoy it.
Thank you so much for posting, it's a reminder we all need.

Majorinsight said...

I really enjoyed reading about all the "Road Warrior Adventures"...can't wait to join you on the open road with my German shepherd BOO ! I am a retired school bus driver from Texas and in the process of building my dream "Off Grid" mobile solar-powered traveling home for BOO and I...a couple of bachelors fixing to put the miles behind us SOON!...Have bookmarked your site and look forward reading more tales to keep me "STOKED!"...L. j. & BOO !

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