When I was little, my dream was to be a nurse like my mother. I could take care of people when they were sick and help them feel better. I practiced for hours on my pets, various rescued wild animals and of course, my brothers.
As I bravely marched into my teenage years, my dream changed and I wanted to be a professional actress or maybe a dancer. I loved performing, it helped me forget my somewhat dull (I thought) life and made me feel more glamorous.
Reality intruded, as it usually does, and I ended up being the proud mother of two by age twenty. I really wasn't thinking much in terms of dreams; every day was an adventure in itself. Working in a hospital brought back thoughts of nursing, but the idea passed quickly.
I did get to travel some, growing up in Massachusetts - moving to New Hampshire in 9th grade - relocating to Florida in my senior year. The service claimed my husband as their own and I got to see Georgia and Delaware as well as revisiting New Hampshire and eventually settling back in Florida. The travel bug was planted, growing slowly but there nevertheless.
The twenties flowed into the thirties - a new marriage, a third child and a new state to live in, Iowa. Dreams? Who had time for dreams? I had discovered computers and started a real career! Part-time college student, full-time programmer, over-time mother and wife. I guess I thought I was living my dream - for the time being anyway.
One day I woke up and got the news that my mother had passed on at the young age of 61. I was stunned. She was so close to leaving her nursing career for her three R's - reading, relaxing and retirement. She had spent her entire life doing for others but never really found complete satisfaction. Had she lived her dream? I don't think so, she was forced to make so many decisions that took her down a different path.
Sitting back, looking at my life, I realized I was following the same pattern. Content with mediocrity in so many areas of my life, I had stopped stretching. I had given up reaching for my dream. Was this what I really wanted? Was this what my mother would have wanted for me? I didn't think so. My oldest children were out on their own, leaving only the eight year old at home.
It's amazing what can happen when you realize you have stopped dreaming and start again. My life turned around. I met my soul mate, my husband Michael. My career soared, and I reached a peak that I had never even dared dream about. I did all the things I had always wanted to do, but never quite could find time for. I tried out for community theatre and got several parts. I tried skiing for the first time and I proved myself wrong - not only could I ski, but I even enjoyed it!
Moving stayed a part of our lives taking us from Florida to Virginia. From there we headed to Georgia, upstate New York, Colorado, Long Island NY and finally Atlanta, GA. We had good times and we had bad but there was one underlying dream that we continued to talk about - traveling in a motorhome when we retired. But why worry about that now? Retirement was years away and we had so much living to do - right?
Catastrophic events have seemed to shape my life in many ways. We had our dream house. Our kids were all grown and on their own. We were both at the top of our careers in well paying jobs. Were we happy? Usually, at least when we got to spend some time together. It seemed like our jobs kept us apart more than together. It was in February of 1996 that my father suddenly passed away. On the long drive back home, I found myself looking at every motorhome that passed by.
"Why haven't we done anything towards make our dream a reality?" I thought. We were in the prime of our life, we had everything we'd ever wished for, but were we living our dream? Obviously not ... it was time to do something proactive.
rest of the ride home headed us towards a new life. We both realized that we had
a mutual dream that was languishing for lack of effort and if we truly wanted it
to happen, we had better get busy. The elusive retirement was closer than either
of us wanted to admit and yet we both knew we would want to continue working.
Lots of research and reading, many trips to RV dealers & shows, questions -
questions - more questions, but we did it. In September we bought our new (used)
motorhome with plans to go full-time within 5 years.
Is this the end of the story? Absolutely not, this is just the beginning.
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