Dear Jaclyn and Heidi,
My problem is that I’m so happy with the simple life I’ve been living since I ‘took off’ with my wife three months ago, that I’m plagued with regrets about the complicated life I led for the preceding 50 years. I can’t stop thinking about what a killjoy I must have seemed to my kids when I was too busy pursuing my career to take them fishing and camping. And I know I was more interested in chasing various promotions than taking my beautiful wife to the theatre or out for a meal. I just wish I had appreciated her as much then, when we were both still young and vibrant, as I do now. I look around now enviously at fellow grey nomads who don’t have as fancy a rig as I do, but are just as happy. The difference is that they didn’t have to sacrifice so much to get here.
The first few months of life on the road is always a time of great adjustment for grey nomads. It is only natural that you get a little reflective and, perhaps a little bit mournful, as your life priorities are turned on their head. Suddenly, you are able to stop running around like a madman and see things with better perspective. Of course, there are things that you would like to have done differently … we all would! But don’t be too hard on yourself, and don’t assume that your fellow grey nomads – regardless of what rig they are travelling in – haven’t also experienced highs and lows. It sounds like you have been a hard worker and a good provider and your wife clearly still loves you so I don’t think you could have been that terrible of a husband. Enjoy your time, Raymond. You deserve it.
Before we get the violins out let’s just have a reality check, shall we, Raymond? You’re travelling in paradise in a super dooper rig with pots of cash and a wife you adore. I think I’m going to save my sympathy for others! We can all look back and consume ourselves with regret … or we can dust ourselves down and embrace the future. It’s your choice but I hope you don’t look back in five years’ time and say: ‘why didn’t I enjoy the last five years more.’ There is much behind you Raymond, but there is also a lot still in front of you. If it helps, think of yourself as Scrooge from ‘A Christmas Carol’ and me as the ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. You are lucky inasmuch as you still have the opportunity to smile, to show your family how much you love them … and to spread some joy.