Close Encounters of the RV Kind

While back home closing on our house, I got a chance to have breakfast with my dear friend Marcia McMillen.  We talked for 3 hours about life, spirituality, art, health, family, homes and careers.  And of course, we talked about our trip, as Marcia and her husband Tom have been two of our most avid blog readers and followers of our trip.  Marcia remembers things we wrote in the blog that even I’ve forgotten. She even brought notes of 3 questions her husband Tom wanted us to write about.  One of the three questions Marcia and Tom asked was:

“How do you and Timm get time apart?” 

The answer is we don’t. We spend virtually 24 hours a day together, every single day.  On a daily basis, we are physically separated for less than an hour when I walk the dogs and if/when Timm chooses to use the campground bathroom.  In addition, once every few weeks, we’re apart for 2 hours when I go out to do laundry.  That’s it.  Every other minute of every day, we’re together, eating, sleeping, blogging, reading, driving and hiking.  Timm and I could force ourselves to have more time apart but it would be contrived, inconvenient and more trouble than the value it would give us.

Timm hanging out in the RV.

We get this question pretty frequently, as many of our friends wonder what it would be like to live with their spouse/significant other in such close and constant proximity.   I also think the underlying question that people are too polite to ask is, “How can you possibly live together in that RV for 7 months and not drive each other crazy?”  The answer to this more blunt version of the question is both simple and complex and yet, comes down to a choice.  Timm and I have a choice to either show love, patience, tolerance and appreciation for each other, or we can choose to allow petty differences to destroy our love and our relationship.

Timm replacing the battery in the car.

Somewhere along the path of this journey, we came to the realization that it is one’s own reaction and attitude toward the other person’s behavior that is the problem, NOT what that other person is actually doing.  For example, lets say Timm tracks dirt into the RV after I just cleaned it.  I can focus on the dirt, get annoyed, and eventually lash out at him.  Or, I can focus on and appreciate that the reason he tracked dirt into the RV is because he’s going in and out as he works to fix a problem with the car and his mind is on troubleshooting the problem.  By focusing on his good intentions instead of the dirt, the drama I was about to create goes away.

Each day, Timm and I both make countless choices about how to view the behavior of the other person, like the dirt in the RV example.  Each time we choose to focus on the good intentions of the other person, we increase our joint happiness, and reduce stress and conflict.  These choices add up to thousands of happy, peaceful moments that create the pattern of our daily lives.  We simply choose to create a daily life together of acceptance, appreciation and peace, instead of petty bickering that escalates into fighting, conflict and bad feelings between us.

In the 7 months that I have lived side-by-side with Timm, I have also come to admire and recognize the depth of his many good qualities.  He’s more compassionate, considerate, non-judgmental and patient than I realized.  Had I not had this time with him, I would never have had the chance to know him as I do now.  Those of you who know me know that I have always loved Timm deeply and now, I love him more than ever before.

Timm gazing at the beautiful scenery in Wrangell St. Elias.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks