(Due to our transition into full-timing , this post does not have a podcast)
It happened again today.
While riding my trike home from the IGA grocery store, I found myself smiling for no discernible reason. Darting through a threatening intersection of after-school traffic my face fired off what felt like a beatific expression of exhilaration and gratitude.
And, that was the third time.
The second time was three days ago while kayaking. A brutal surf in the shallow basin of South Bay San Diego seemed determined to pound me to masa right there on the jetty when – kaboom – my facial muscles took flight as a sprinkling of blissful peace surrounded me. That serene feeling is similar to the one I had last week (thought it was a fluke) while folding clothes in the laundry mat, I glanced at Pico napping on the bench and shazam, my chest seemed to radiate light as my heart aligned with universal perfection for one weightless, glowing moment before my over-active inner-critic grumbled, “It’s just something about performing a pleasurable, mundane task and your body is experiencing the bliss of familiar routine amidst all this chaos …”
That’s what’s been missing. Familiar. And, Routine.
For the last two years, we’ve dispatched the fat from a lifetime of accumulated possessions, and transferred the best into a 240 square-foot trailer. The task is finally done – but, during that critical transition period my face must have slowly frozen into a thoughtful, pained or even tragic expression – at least for the better part of May – as one urgent task led to another and I pondered the thought that Jim and I had, perhaps, made the most incredibly irresponsible decision two aging and ailing boomers could make.
Then, when escrow suddenly closed last week – an event I had come to doubt would occur this year, the flood of necessary details caught us off guard even as the enormity of our plans came to fruition: We don’t own a house or property anymore – only a 30′ Airstream trailer and a truck and their contents.
Baking and writing is the usual prescription for tumultuous circumstances, but during the bustle and finalities of this May, time to sit and think it out never arrived. My body leapt into action, eager to deal with the immediate issue of house-keeping the trailer because we had passed the point of no return.
So now, a week later my face contorts into a smile and I wonder, “what’s that all about”?
It’s because after two years of checking-out and checking-in, I’m home at last. Since I tend to think too much, my face and gut gets the message before I do.
We really have moved past all that stuff (i.e.) the comfort of a lifetime of found treasures arranged lovingly in a context which traditionally expresses the fullness of one’s years on planet earth and that one’s survivors will be required to sort through and make sense of and ultimately discard. All that stuff is now filtered, homogenized, dehydrated, compressed and encapsulated into a large silver lozenge which, until very recently, threatened to choke me … but now, goes down silky smooth.
It took two years but the last six weeks were the toughest: We’ve moved out of our house, moved into Beauty, and closed escrow. All that remains until we’re freeFreeFREE to wander about the continent Living The Dream is for Jim to retire on July 1. Thirty days from now. Oh, yes. We’re counting …
Here’s some greenhorn Airstream experiences we’ve lately overcome:
- Every time a cabinet is opened something falls out.
- I spend most of my day looking for something I put away two hours earlier.
- I stub my toes on items I’ve had no choice but to cram under the table or beside the bed because there’s no other place to put them.
- There’s a cold beer, lettuce and left-over avalanche every time I open the refrigerator because I can’t seem to accept that it’s only about 1/8 the size of my old one.
- Every night is spent on the computer shopping for space saving devices or a replicator like in Star Trek.
- Every day I throw out items I have been saving (for a full year) “for the Airstream” out the door of the Airstream into a bin where they are shoved into bags and donated.
I say we’ve overcome these challenges because:
- The cabinets are no longer overloaded; I can now find items quickly and extract them easily.
- Most of the items under the table have either been used or are in the outside cooler (mostly beer and wine) or, were donated.
- I now relax more at night and do creative things because I have come to realize that we don’t need all the miraculous and incredible space-saving devices the internet has to offer, we just need to stop thinking we need so much.
Also, I am learning the “Jim” stuff – about the machine we live in. Beauty’s not just a pretty face. She’s a hard-wired, delicately plumbed, rolling cache of life-essentials. She even has mood-swings. I’m cool with that. I’m learning how she lives, breathes and moves and what she needs where-and-when – all the important things for both of us to know at all times.
Meanwhile, the blogging can’t be stopped! It serves many purposes. It’s a journal of our adventures. And even though we’ve only traveled a couple of miles from home, we’re in it deep now – prepped and committed. This blog is also a way to keep our family and friends informed about our travels, and it connects and involves us with other Airstreamers and full-timers. We also hope that we’re a source of information for those who might be thinking about this lifestyle. In only a few weeks in a single park, we’ve met a couple who have actually lived full-time in their Airstream for two years now. They connected us with Airstream Addicts on Facebook. And, last week I encountered a blog about another (much younger) couple who – like us in many ways – are preparing for full timing and moved into their Airstream the same time we did and are waiting to retire later this year! Wow. For Boomers, we are soooo millennial …
I guess I’m smiling because – the transition is over and we haven’t changed at all. We’re still that curious, off-beat couple.
Grafting ourselves to the Airstreaming life was dependent on not diverting from who we are, as we continue to do what we want to do. We’re best when we’re fulfilling our goals, accepting ourselves and becoming more aware of our needs and passions.
We have achieved our vision that we don’t have to age gracefully in a traditional lifestyle if we don’t want to – and Beauty makes that happen.
I’ve always wanted to be a full-time Girl Scout. Beauty makes that happen.
Living a mundane life in one place shuts me down creatively, so I need to be on the move. Beauty makes it happen.
We both need more outdoor time. Beauty makes it happen.
We want to visit old friends. Beauty makes it happen.
We’d like to see the world in a context that is not about necessity and business, but contemplation and recreation. Beauty makes it happen.
And, wherever Beauty goes, there we are.