Dear Jaclyn and Heidi,
I took off on a grey nomad adventure six months ago with my husband, a 72-year-old grown man … but I now appear to be travelling with an irresponsible teenager! We both hoped that the Big Lap would change us, but Alec has taken things to the extreme. He starts whistling at 6am, walks around campsites barefoot, and I’m sure I’ve seen him winking at female grey nomads. He tells me off for being ‘boring’ if I try to plan a day ahead, and he is growing his hair long, and sometimes doesn’t shave for days. Freinds say he’ll eventually settle down, but I can’t take it much longer. Last week, he bought a sticker that reads: ‘If the van is rocking, don’t bother knocking’. I’ve told him that if he sticks it up on our Jayco, I’m off!
Wow! I’ve heard of grey nomads suddenly feeling young again when they shake off the shackles of conventional life but I agree … Alec appears to have taken it to a new level. The simple fact that Alec is 72 means his newfound youthful exuberance will eventually fade, but it sounds like you’re not in the mood to wait for that to happen. He clearly needs to rein it in a little now. Apart from anything else, his behaviour is making you feel uncomfortable and he is risking making a fool of himself or of offending others. Maybe it’s time that a family member or a long-standing friend had a quiet word with him. Of course, it is great that he is so excited to be out there living the dream but he has to be made aware of his wider responsibilities to you. It’s your trip, too!
Well, it sounds like poor old Alec has committed the cardinal sin of being happy! You say you were both hoping for a change when you hit the open road, so instead of complaining that the ‘old man’ has got a spring in his step, why don’t you try kicking off your shoes now and again? The Big Lap has worked its magic on the man you married and made him young at heart again. Good for him! One of the great things about being a grey nomad is that it gives so many back at least the memory of youth … and rekindles a lust for life that might have felt like it had gone forever. Instead of working out how to dampen Alec’s life force, why not concentrate on finding your own? Then maybe he’ll be winking at you before too long! We’re a long time dead, Izzy.