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I spent some time yesterday having an email conversation with a couple who are in their fourth year of fulltiming and said they feel like they are in a rut. Like all new fulltimers, when they started out they expected to be seeing new sites and having new adventures all the time, but in their first winter they came down to Florida and found a nice RV park they like, made some good friends there, and they have been going back every year since then. Their summers are spent back in their old hometown, taking care of the grandkids on school vacation, while their parents work.

They said that they don’t mind spending a month or so doing the grandparent thing, and they do enjoy their friends at the place here in Florida, but they feel like they are missing out on so much. They have always wanted to spend the summer exploring the Oregon and Washington coasts, but can’t because of their family obligations. They have dreamed of spending a summer exploring Alaska, but again, they are too busy babysitting to do that. They want to go to Arizona and do the Quartzsite thing, but their friends in Florida keep telling them how disappointed they will all be if they didn’t show up and spend the winter with them. As the wife said, “We need to learn to say no without taking on a guilt trip and feeling that we are being selfish.”

I wrote back and told her that yes, they do need to learn to say no. There are tens of thousands of fulltime RVing grandparents who don’t feel the need to play babysitter all summer long. There are lots of other friends in other RV parks waiting to meet them. There’s a whole big country to explore. Don’t limit yourself!

It’s admirable when people want to spend time with their family and help them out. But there comes a point where one has to say, “this is my time now.” And there is nothing wrong with that. As I told them, if one of them were to have a fatal heart attack tonight, their adult children would find somebody to take care of those grandkids during summer vacation, and their friends at that RV park in Florida would cozy up to whoever took their place in their empty site. The only ones who would miss out would be them, because they didn’t get to do the things they always wanted to do.

Go boondocking in Arizona and listen to the coyotes sing you to sleep at night. Spend that summer on the Pacific Northwest coast, drinking in the sights and sounds of the most beautiful part of the country we have ever seen. Make that trip to Alaska. Fill your memory bank until it’s bursting at the seams. I guarantee, you won’t regret it.

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It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook on CD of The Ghost of Marlow House, the first book in my pal Bobbi Holmes’ excellent Haunting Danielle mystery series about a woman who inherits a house on the Oregon Coast that she intends to turn into a bed and breakfast, only to discover that one of the house’s previous owners is still in residence, even though he’s been dead for almost ninety years. Bobbi is a great storyteller, and you won’t get past the first chapter without knowing why her series has so many fans. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – When you stop believing in Santa Claus is when you start getting clothes for Christmas!

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