Sunday, January 31, 2010

What's So Great About Living in an RV

The title of this post is a statement, not a question. For me there is no question, but if there were, the answer would be: Everything.
This is, in fact, a hard subject for me to write about due to the “fish-in-water” effect. It's hard to perceive something when it's all around you. It's harder still to identify it, to delineate it, to put it into words.

What is really so amazing for me is that it took me so long to have the realization that I needed to get an RV. It wasn't that I didn't know about the possibility. I might even have given it some consideration from time to time. But there was a mental block in place. Maybe it was that, for me, a guy who at one time lived in a canyon with nothing but a backpack, sleeping bag, and a laptop, having a shelter-on-wheels seemed like cheating. Or maybe it was that I perceived having an RV as a major financial decision to be made at some time in the indefinite future once other more pressing matters had been seen to. Whatever the reason, some part of my psyche was blocking the notion from being given due consideration. Somehow I just didn't see it as being “me”. WARNING: This is a sign of ego rigidity, of identity inflexibility, of a brittle and thus fragile self-image. Passage 76 of the Tao Te Ching reads:

Men are born soft and supple;
dead, they are stiff and hard.
Plants are born tender and pliant;
dead, they are brittle and dry.

Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible
is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding
is a disciple of life.

The hard and stiff will be broken.
The soft and supple will prevail.

Thus, a self-identity that is resistant to change for the sake of not changing is a malady. If “that's just me” is your sole reason for doing or not doing something that other reasons are compelling you to not do or to do, then it needs to be examined. Why is that not you? What do you gain from sticking to this position? There are always reasons, conscious or not, that we make decisions (or avoid making them). And if your reasons are unconscious or unexamined, you cannot know whether or not they serve the real you, the you that you consciously decide you want to be and intentionally create. Does this mean that self-identity should be abandoned? (I only ask this question because in every audience there is someone who will.) No. Does the grass become unrooted when the wind blows? A self-identity that is rooted in reality and conscious decision is able to change while still being itself. Once you overcome the fear of changing you realize that the “self” is a concept that is continuously emerging, and that the “you” of one moment is never identical with the “you” of any other moment, and yet at the same time who “you” really are is always the same and can never change.

So I am grateful for the words of a friend who said, “You should get an RV. No really, you should get one.” It turned out that once my unconscious resistance had been overcome (and all it took was a little nudge), the idea moved in and took over like an obnoxious freeloader, and my self-image expanded to accommodate it. And once the process had begun, I realized I never did have any good reasons not to live in an RV in the first place. That is totally me.

What is so great about living in an RV is that you can go anywhere and still be at home. Literally, anywhere: the library, the grocery store, the coffee shop, the beach, your friend's house, another city, another state, another country. And you still have all your stuff with you, including your books, your toys, your kitchen, your home office, your bathroom, everything right down to your comfy bed. Who wouldn't want this? Well, a lot of people, actually, mainly those who value security over freedom, which is really most people (but that's the subject of another post). But what freedom-loving, adventure-seeking, possession-eschewing person wouldn't be thrilled by this concept? A home with a view? How about a home with a different view every couple of days? Don't like the weather? Think the Jetsons, but more horizontal. Curious about what life is like over yonder? Try it out, stay as long as you like, leave when you please. Want to meet new people? They're everywhere, waiting for you to come say hi. Enjoy vacationing and camping? Vacation every day, camp every night.

Sounds good, but impossible for me, you might say. Well, if you would say this then probability would dictate that you most likely value security over freedom and have arranged your life to reflect that, in which case you have yourself strapped down to your little spot on the Earth in any number of ways, in which case that's probably really what you want (or at least think you do). But perhaps you are truly freedom-oriented, and you really do want more freedom than you feel you have, but you are strapped down just the same, out of necessity, you feel. If that is the case, you should stop telling yourself that what you want is impossible. The only limits to freedom are those that you place on your own imagination. That is the nature of freedom. It cannot be contained, only constrained. Constraints are real, but between them and around them there are infinitely many dimensions of freedom. So first, prioritize your true desires, then identify your constraints, and then exercise your freedom to choose. If the prospect seems daunting, but you know that freedom is truly your highest priority, then I suggest subscribing to this blog for some inspiration.

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