Interesting conversation with a gentleman camped next to us. . .
We happened to be chatting about our individual lives and what brought us to where we are in life. He worked 30+ years for a UAW (Union) plant in Michigan and his wife was a school teacher. They both retired with full pensions, social security, and insurance. The American dream – right?
So, here they are. Parked in a campground with a 28’ camper. She hates it because it’s too small. He hates it because their new trailer has lots of trouble like leaks and electrical issues. They sit inside because it’s too hot most days and he listens to his wife yell at him because there’s no room for visitors or family, no space to cook or relax, no room to get away from each other.
They can’t afford to buy a larger or newer unit. They don’t own a truck, so they can’t move anywhere.
So, this is retirement. Sitting in hot, humid Florida; hating your home, location, and situation. Can’t travel because they can’t afford a truck.
Yes, this is what they worked a lifetime for – this is retirement – this is the American Dream!
He asked what brought us here. I told him our story. We lived our part of the American Dream. We owned the big house, had the great business, and lost everything.
Now we live on the road. We have a nice home on wheels that we built ourselves. We work a few months, then play a few months. We are not rich, but we’re not broke either. Our insurance is God alone.
Amy said “why wait until you’re old and retire to be miserable, when we can be miserable now!”
She’s kidding of corse. But we enjoy our life together. We enjoy seeing new places and working different places. Sure, there have been many times during our last couple years that we’ve had struggles and hatted our location or job. We’ve been broke with barely enough money to buy fuel. We’ve also had seasons when we could take a breath and relax for a couple months. We have the luxury of moving on if we don’t like our circumstances, we’re not stuck for 30+ years at a job only to retire and be stuck again.
We miss being with friends and family. We miss the relationships that were built. Our hearts often ache for true friends and we search for purpose in our travels and our life. But, we’re incredibly blessed and happy that we spend 24/7 with each other and love being together, even in our little home on wheels. We love our opportunities to reunite with old friends, and occasionally even with new friends. Even as I write this, we are anxiously anticipating meeting up again with some new friends that we met for the first time just one year ago. Now those friendships have become important relationships to us. If it wasn’t for our travels, and our summer work together, we never would have enjoyed a new and lasting relationship.
So, I wonder what tomorrow will bring. I wonder who we will meet. Will we meet someone who will be a new friend for a season, or even a lifetime? Maybe we will just chat with our neighbors in this little park, or enjoy the beauty of temporary location. Maybe – maybe tomorrow will bring new struggles, new problems or maybe it will bring new excitement and new joy.
Either way, we’re glad to be living this life on the road. We’re glad we can do this while we’re young. Yup, we’re not retired; we probably never really will be. We don’t have pensions and we don’t have Social security. We work. We find creative ways to support our lives. But we don’t live to work. We don’t spend our lives working so we can retire and hate our lives.
We just live!