"Buy an RV," they said... "It'll be easy," they said...
Actually, nobody lured us to the idea of living full-time in an RV with the promise that it would be easy. I made that part up. I’m not even sure what I was expecting, but the utopian version of RV life I had naively concocted in my daydreams is not even close. My Dad is one of the unluckiest people I know and one of his favorite sayings is, “If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.” Science has yet to release this study, but I’m confident they will find bad luck to be a genetic inheritance… thank you, Dad!
Three weeks into what we were dubbing “the adventure of a lifetime”, our RV engine blew up and needed replacing. We were told the entire problem stemmed from careless mechanics on the part of the dealership where we had purchased our RV. We were quoted $11,000 and a window of 3 weeks to a month to get our home on wheels back on the road. I’m not emoji savvy, but I think the appropriate emoji response is the poop emoji… (insert poop emoji here).
I’ve been an incurable optimist for the entirety of my life, but usually not without a good side order of realism to balance things out. This might be one of the biggest ways in which Engjell and I are different: he is a committed pessimist. He can name fifteen reasons why the glass is half empty when you only asked for ten. I think my reckless optimism drives him insane, but in the end, I like to think we balance each other’s personalities out. Naturally, our kids have no idea what the status of the proverbial glass really ought to be.
However, this first month of life on the road has challenged my “happy, go lucky” spirit much more than I ever anticipated. Every day, it seem like a different appliance is sounding its alarms or the batteries are dead or the heating won’t work. To be fair, some of the issues have stemmed from pure user error and our learning curve has been pretty steep, but just as many of the problems have been legitimate. All of a sudden, Engjell is the optimist, running around excitedly and grinning ear to ear, every time a new alarm goes off because he gets to fix something! I have never known anyone who loves to troubleshoot like Engjell does…. He’s in his element and I can tell this trip, despite the setbacks, makes him happy.
Just as important, it makes my kids happy. In one short month, they went from barely being able to entertain themselves without a tech gadget to playing games requiring imagination and creativity for hours on end at the park. Just when I thought all was lost and my kids had sold their imaginations to the electronic devil, life on the road comes to the rescue!
So now I realize, it wasn’t that my optimism had vacated the premises… I just had a bad attitude. Embarking on a new and grand adventure was never going to be easy and I had no right to force my expectations of perfection on it. Ninety percent of happiness is perspective but I let myself forget that important detail for one long, excruciating month. A wise friend reminded me last week of the adage that “anything worth doing will rarely be easy”. If Engjell, the Grand Poobah of pessimists, can find something to smile about every time an alarm goes off, I sure as heck can find a way too.
It becomes clearer every day: it’s not whether the glass is half empty or half full, the point is that it’s refillable. Cheers!