Early last week I posted this question to my facebook group.  “I believe RVing gives us the opportunity to develop new character traits.  Mine are resilience and flexibility.  What are yours?”  Those that answered the question had one word to offer.  “Patience.”  Yes!  RV Life and patience go together.

Of course – that’s the very character trait that predisposed me to extend my ability to be resilient and flexible!

Patience is the ability to accept, handle or tolerate delays or troubles without getting upset.

We need a bumper sticker on our RV’s that says:  FRUSTRATION HAPPENS!  The RV lifestyle provides us with plenty of good reasons to be impatient.  Our homes are breaking down all the time.  We live in small spaces with other people.  You name it and we need coping mechanisms that keep us enjoying our lives on the road. 

This week provided us with plenty of grist for our psychic mills on both of these accounts.

We are moochdocking at an artist friend’s cabin in Woodland Park Colorado.

Friend’s cabin in the woods

Rita’s painting on the side of her barn.

Our view out the front of the coach.

Problem # 1 – On the way up to 8500 feet the car was red lining and I just barely made it here.  It turns out it needs a new water pump, and nothing is open this weekend. 

Problem # 2 – The driveway has stone pedestals, and we skinned up the coach on the way into our very tight spot. 

Problem # 3 – We tabled a relationship issue we weren’t making any headway on for a week.  Bad idea.

Each of these situations by themselves would be cause for frustration and stress.  But this was a perfect trifecta.

You can drive yourself crazy when stuff goes awry, or you can learn to transform frustration with patience.

Introducing the sage cowboy – Y.O. Ming. Cartoon by Stephen Densford

Fortunately, RVing has taught us many lessons on how to handle adversity.  I could see Stephen was taking it on and worry lines were written all over his face.  All I needed to do was remind him this is just what our day will be about today.  Tomorrow will be something else.  Maybe more pleasant, maybe not.  It’s just a day in our road life.  Like I said, RV life and patience seem to go together.

Being patient is a way to provide yourself with emotional freedom.  Frustration feels like agitation.  Your heart beats faster.  Your hands get sweaty.  It leads to endless dissatisfaction with life. 

But, we do have the choice of how we react to life’s situations.  This can be a big revelation, and sometimes it takes me a while to get on top of an emotion that is running me.  But this I know.  I want this choice. 

Our emotions are pretty much on automatic pilot all the time.  But they are just one component of our makeup.  They don’t have to dictate our responses.  We can step back and regroup:  choose our next action.  Patience is liberating and gives us control of ourselves.  When we can self-manage our emotions, we build trust in our capacity to deal with whatever a day may bring.

After a very short time, most RVers know to expect challenges as they live on the road. The more we roll with the punches and grow in our tolerance to adversity, the less we are taken over by the daily stressors.

What we may not know is our capacity for patience with ourselves, our partners and our rigs is being developed and strengthened, and surely this is a good thing!