How We Roll
We were optimistic that our new itinerant lifestyle would make visiting wonderful. We could be close to our kids and grandkids without making them rearrange their spaces, their schedules, or their lifestyles. We could stick around for longer than usual, like a month instead of a week. That scared a couple of people (Mom’s coming for a WHOLE MONTH??) but they have been kind enough to adopt a “wait and see” attitude about it.
One of my worries about this particular paradigm shift is that it seems to be taking place without a solid plan in place...which is probably a paradigm shift in itself. I am a list maker, or should I say a list crosser-offer. There’s something very satisfying to me about seeing items on a list marked off when they are completed. I should have a visiting schedule in place, based on geographic location and time of year.
But our plan is nothing like that so far. At the end of October we hightailed it out of Chicago (before the epic snowstorms hit) and headed south since we intend to live in warm places. Thankfully, our daughter and grandson had recently moved to South Carolina, so that seemed like a logical place to start. We stayed in their general vicinity for a month. It was actually more like moving to the city they lived in than it was like visiting. It did mean some travel time between where we were and where they were though. Note to self: try to find out about the traffic between us and them ahead of time.
Almost everyone else in our family lives in the north, either in Washington State or Pennsylvania. We plan to visit them when it’s NOT winter. There is one group in northern California, where winters are decent, but we are going there in June this year, when our granddaughter graduates from high school. So when we left the Charleston area we had no immediate family-visiting plans.
We decided to go to Florida where the weather is nice and we could take some time to adapt to living like this. We really wanted to get used to our strange new schedule and have time to work in some of the things we had talked about having time for. So we reserved a space in a campground near the Kennedy Space Center and about 40 miles east of Orlando. We have it booked until the end of February.
Then we’ll head west and north so we end up in California in June. After that, we’ll probably spend most of the summer in various places in Washington. What we do from March to June and after summer still needs to be figured out. Having the plan evolve as we go seems like it would be exciting. In truth, it’s a little scary, especially for a list crosser-offer. But I guess that’s what a paradigm shift is all about.
The paradigm we are trying to shift is this: how can we visit family (and probably friends too, but we haven’t gotten to that part yet) for the perfect amount of time without over-visiting? How can we spend quality time with the people we care about without driving them crazy? When Boo and I embarked on this adventure, we were full of optimism about how our new visiting paradigm would work out.
It would be quite a bit different from the normal way of visiting…which reputedly spawned the saying, “Fish and visitors stink after 3 days.” Benjamin Franklin said that. In our imaginations, no one would ever think those thoughts about us: they would be begging to be next on our schedule and constantly requesting more time for future visits.
According to Webster, a “paradigm” is a theory or group of ideas about how something should be done, made, or thought about. That makes sense. If we’re proposing a paradigm shift, we’re proposing to change long-held beliefs (and attitudes) about the way something has always been done, or at least as long as anyone can remember.
I learned the term "paradigm shift" from the corporate world. It's one of those terms people put on lists of annoyingly overused words. That's because it is often misused. Paradigm shifting isn't just about changing a plan or changing direction. It's about completely altering the way a concept or idea is understood by the people involved.