Our Version of New Year's Resolutions
JANUARY 14: It’s official, we have passed the date that is coined as “National Quitter’s Day”, celebrated on January 12. We have kind of gotten into the groove of holding out on our New Year’s Resolutions until we pass that date in hopes of not falling into the category of breaking our resolutions or goals for the year. We also continued with the format of our goals using the MORE / LESS method that we have used the last few years. We know that we may not be able to make leaps to stop doing something all together, but we can do MORE of things on the left and LESS of the things on the right.
So there you have it our guidelines for 2019 and unlike year’s past where we kept this list safely tucked into the blog scroll, this year if you visit, you will find it posted proudly on our fridge. We all need visual reminders sometimes, right? If you are interested in the nitty gritty behind each line item, read on. For those not as interested, this is your chance to exit without feeling guilty as the details are as much for us as it is for you.
If you’ve been following us for the past few years, you may know that MORE reading has made our list every single year. It is something we both love to do, but often find ourselves staying busy with other things, some productive, but most very unproductive. Nearly every night, we will pull the plug a little early on the TV and grab a blanket and a book to wrap up the evening. We did well last year meeting our goal of at least one book per month, with my reading list totaling 24 and Russ’ topping out at 18. I can tell you if we compared the number of pages read, Russ would top the list. He seems drawn to big books and while I’m not opposed to long books, they get so heavy to hold (yes, I’m fragile)! Despite reaching our goal this year, it isn’t a one and done thing and we look forward to the many books we will read and enjoy in 2019. Drop your book recommendations in the comments below . . .
2018 brought with it our longest stay in one place. We spent 11 months of the year parked in Port Lavaca, Texas as workampers at Texas Lakeside RV Resort. When accepting the job, we had been asked for a one-year commitment and we had decided that would be a good addition to our resume as well as the chance to experience the ins and outs of a campground over the course of a year. We had heard of “Hitch Itch” from several fellow RVers, but had yet to experience it. But we are hear to say it’s a real thing. That feeling you get when you stay in one place too long and feel like you should hitch up and see something else. No cream or salve can fix it either. The only known cure is to hitch up and go. We really enjoyed and truly appreciated the opportunity to work at Texas Lakeside RV Resort, but we are looking forward to shorter-term jobs in 2019, starting with 3 1/2 months working in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 4 or 5 months working in New Jersey and a few months working in an unknown (and hopefully sunny) location to finish out the year.
It likely wouldn’t be a legit set of New Year’s Resolutions without a health or fitness goal so to make things legit, here’s ours. We have committed to being more aware of the foods we consume, with snacks being more thought out, and meaningful, and less grab and go and gone! The benefit of this . . . we hope to see some pounds drop! Inspired by our niece Nicole, we decided to try the old wight-loss standard of Weight Watchers. I shouldn’t call it old as their method has recently changed for the better. We started about 6 weeks ago and have found that the Weight Watchers structure has been good for us. By downloading, and actually using, the app on our phones, we have found that the foods are easy to track and our daily information is always readily available for a reminder or quick status. Both of us have always been motivated by the structure that numbers provide and by a good challenge, so the Weight Watchers program is our current choice to assist us in attacking this common life problem.
So far our travel destinations as full-time RVers have been dictated by two things: workamping jobs and places we wanted to see and explore. The in between, as we travel from one job location to the next, often included visits with family and friends. This year, our travel destinations have another pull - family time. Later this year we will be traveling back across the country to a workamping job in New Jersey. Being from the Northeast, many people have wondered why we are traveling back to this part of the country when there are so many places we have yet to explore. The answer is FAMILY. With Russ’ dad inching closer and closer to age 90 and being blessed with pretty good health, we desire the opportunity to spend time with him - talking, visiting, laughing and reminiscing. We have a nephew who will be graduating from high school later this year and are excited to be nearby to celebrate his pomp and circumstance. A family vacation with the Dutt family also dictated our job choice for this year. One stipulation for us accepting a job was a week off in the summer to celebrate the dual 70th birthdays of Betsy’s parents. Our desire to see new things is dwarfed by our desire to be present with family this year.
As we sit in our RV named “Charlie” and peer outside, we are greeted with mountain views out most of our windows. Despite the mountain views also being snow views, this item on our MORE / LESS list seems almost mandatory. The views and elevations we see and experience while hiking will vary quite a bit from early 2019 to mid 2019 to late 2019, but that is what keeps it interesting. Don’t get crazy and think we are going to be tackling Mt. Everest or the like (I would consider that trekking which we will likely never do). I like to think of my hiking like this dictionary definition.
We look forward to setting foot in the Sandia Mountain foothills as well as the New Jersey Pinelands and hopefully a trail or two in between. Don’t worry recliners, we can’t hike all the time!
So I guess adding this to our list of New Year’s resolutions makes us like nearly 100% of other resolution makers — a financial goal. We do keep pretty close tabs on our budget, keeping all receipts and tracking where all our dinero goes. However, by the time it gets tracked it has already been spent. As we fine-tune our 2019 budget it is our goal to never have anything in the “things we didn’t budget for” account. However, we are realistic enough to understand that situations will arise that create unplanned and often unwanted expenses (say truck maintenance, ugh!). So that is why we plan to focus again this year on MORE earning opportunities. We did a couple mini side gigs in 2018, but aspire to find ones that spark joy and add income. Some people may refer to this as the “American Dream.”
We were definitely a little lax this past year with our blog posts. 104 in 2016. 131 in 2017. 38 in 2018. We could play the blame game and maybe we will a little bit as we didn’t do nearly as much traveling so our lives became a little more bland. We found ourselves not feeling like we had anything to talk about and would end up writing posts that would incorporate several weeks or even a month of catchup or musings. We hope 2019 brings LESS of these type of posts to your inbox and MORE up-to-date and consistent posts. You will have to be patient with us as we race to get current. Since you are still here reading, we consider you a dedicated reader and would love to hear from you about what types of content you would like to see more of from us. Drop a comment below or shoot us an email with your requests. We absolutely love hearing from all you guys and dolls!
Ok, this one might be a little more touchy / feely and not quite as tangible as some of our other resolutions, but it doesn’t make it any less important in our book. As we travel to different parts of the Country, we have the pleasure of working with, dealing with, engaging with and meeting a wide variety of people. We’ve discovered that in our previous life, before our current traveling mode, we may have fallen into the trap of being in our own protective bubble, not really experiencing such a wide variety of humans. We, as most people, tend to surround ourselves with people just like us. What we’ve decided is to make a conscious effort to show a little more compassion for people we may encounter in our daily lives who act a little different from us, think a little different from us, look a little different than us or express themselves a little differently than us. We have both worked a variety of jobs over the past three years, but being a judge has not been, or will ever be, one of them. So passing judgement on others is not something we are qualified to do. There are a variety of ways to show compassion for others, our goal is to find the appropriate way when the situation arises and have the courage to act on it. To summarize all of these somewhat heavy words, we plan to throw around kindness like confetti!
Enrichment makes something more meaningful, substantial, or rewarding. Enrichment improves something. With all but maybe a couple of TV shows, we can probably all agree that television does not fit in this category. Russ spends quite a bit of time researching while staring at the screen of his laptop, but I would be more likely to fall into the category of lack of meaning laptop use (darn you Facebook & Pinterest). In 2019 we hope to enrich our lives with some of the things we failed to do more of in 2018 and some new additions as well - practicing yoga, learning Spanish, focusing on photography, better understanding of commercial real estate investment and further developing our writing skills (You, our readers, should benefit from this one!). The turning of the calendar often makes us a bit ambitious, so we plan to work on how to incorporate these meaningful and rewarding learning opportunities into our everyday lives. So touch your toes, put on your sombrero, say cheese, buy an RV park and pick up a pen because 2019 is here!
We are always up for trying new things, but to be honest the things are usually in the safe zone. I know, I know, you might be thinking that selling our house, leaving our full-time jobs, moving into an RV and working seasonal jobs around the country was already pretty thrill-seeking. Ok, maybe that was not one of our safe zone things, but when it comes to planning a weekend outing, or a day off work, we definitely lean more towards safe than thrill. Have no fear, we’re not talking about things that might endanger our health or safety (Russ is getting up there in years, you know!), but something that is more likely to get our pulse beating a little faster and might be considered stepping outside of our comfort zone. This resolution definitely has its origins in our current home for the next three months, Albuquerque, NM. In case you didn’t know, one of the things that Albuquerque is known for is its annual Hot Air Balloon Festival in October. Even though we will not still be in the area at the time of the Festival, the topography and winds in the Albuquerque area make it an ideal place for hot air balloon companies to offer rides for the majority of the year. So during our time in Albuquerque we decided to put ourselves in one of those baskets and experience this high desert plain from the air. Our trip will definitely be when the temperatures are a little more moderate, but whenever we do it, it will be outside of our comfort zone. As we talked about this concept, we decided, “Why stop there?”. Let’s make this a theme and plan on pulling out the kayak when we encounter that river or lake and let’s hike that trail when we come across it, maybe even venturing off the main path. What?!?!?! Let’s not get crazy here! Trails are marked for a reason, right? How ‘bout we decide that when we get there? But we’ll end by saying, “If it makes us feel a little uncomfortable or uneasy, let’s do it!”
We are hoping this year’s MORE / LESS list sparks positive changes in our life. I know we are behind the typical resolution posts timeline. Do you have any resolutions and are you still committed to them? Or are you recommitting after “National Quitter’s Day”? Your mama didn’t raise no quitter and neither did ours, so share a few or all of your resolutions / goals / plans for the year below. We still have plenty of time, 350ish days to make them happen - let’s go get em’!