Time for patience

Deb and I didn’t go anywhere Friday. We slumped again all day Saturday. Knowing ourselves, and in keeping with our practice of not creating unnecessary pressure, we’ve intentionally reserved a full week to rally and regain our balance.

You can understand, I’m sure, that the transition from life on the road to a more conventional existence, however temporary, can be something of a shock. We’re doing our best to stick the landing.

The last 48 hours also have highlighted how compatible Deb and I truly are. For 342 of the last 365 days it’s been just the two of us, independent as a couple of American adults can be. We charted our own course. We made our own decisions and we handled our own business. When problems arose — and occasionally they did — we attacked and solved them.

Inside that carefully tended bubble, such as it was, we got along perfectly.

Most important, throughout our journey we avoided drama — we didn’t invent any of our own and we actively shunned those who sought to infect us with theirs. Now we’re a stationary target, at least for a while, which puts a strain on our relationship that’s unfamiliar, unnecessary and unwanted.

Some folks thrive on drama. Some can’t survive without it and still others manufacture it. We’re definitely not those people.

Life is enough.

We’ll escape the nonsense again soon — not soon enough, of course, and we have a shitload of work to do, but my perfect partner and I will do whatever it takes to make it happen.

When I parked my Tacoma back at Second Chance Ranch after our Squeek’s run Thursday evening, the battery didn’t have enough juice to turn the starter. That wasn’t exactly a surprise. I popped the hood, connected an old-school “smart” battery charger, set it to 2A and let it trickle overnight.

By Friday morning in was clear that the battery was charging but not nearly charged. (Again, it didn’t surprise me.) I dug into Ernie’s basement and pulled out the small NOCO Genius 1 we’d bought for the road. I hooked that up and walked away — trickling at 1A meant that reaching a full charge would take a long time, perhaps days.

Slumping allows me to be patient.

The charger’s status LED was still red Saturday morning. A day later it glowed green — success. I let it be, however, so that it could do its (advertised) desulfation thing. In another 24 hours or so I’ll find out if the battery’s been restored.

I’m optimistic.

In closing today I’ll offer a confession, followed by some advice. Both come from a place of humility — I don’t fancy myself anyone’s counselor, nor do I presume that you’re cataloguing my faults, slip-ups and regrets.

You may have noticed that Friday’s blog, unless you read it right after I posted it, includes the word “redacted” in red where I ended up deleting a particular passage. I could throw shade or cast blame elsewhere for that, but I take responsibility for withdrawing those words.

In short, I censored myself.

I’m not proud of that. It’s at odds with the principles I espouse. I choose my words carefully and I mean what I say. I won’t restore what I deleted this time — that’d just add drama — but I give you my word that it won’t happen again.

You need to be confident that if you read it here, I mean it.

Now the advice.

One of the most useful qualities I’ve developed over the years is, simply put, discipline. I haven’t always been a model of discipline, of course — it took time, experience and trials to reveal its importance. In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert M. Pirsig steered me in the right direction:

“If you’re a sloppy thinker the six days of the week you aren’t working on your machine, what trap avoidances, what gimmicks, can make you all of a sudden sharp on the seventh? It all goes together. But if you’re a sloppy thinker six days a week and you really try to be sharp on the seventh, then maybe the next six days aren’t going to be quite as sloppy as the preceding six.”

Then came the kicker:

“The real cycle you’re working on is a cycle called yourself. The machine that appears to be ‘out there’ and the person that appears to be ‘in here’ are not two separate things.”

That crystallized it for me.

I realized that I’d been dividing my life into two categories: things I cared about and things I didn’t give a flying fuck about. I devoted a different kind of attention to my relationships than I gave to my jobs. Certain material possessions I maintained meticulously and others I neglected. I decided that I should be on time for some appointments — y’know, the important ones — but I could be tardy for others.

That was a recipe for a life that didn’t work. Stuff I actually cared about suffered because I spent a lot of my time practicing how to not give a shit about the rest.

Discipline is intentional and it’s personal. It’s active, not casual. It pervades every aspect of one’s life or it doesn’t exist at all.

Rewarding relationships and professional success are functions of discipline. So are physical and mental health. Everything from vehicles to household appliances, from firearms to cell phones to diesel-pusher motorhomes, works better in the hands of a disciplined individual.

And I’ll leave you with this: Without discipline, you’ll never be free.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB