The Philodendron Isn’t Always Greener

Last updated: January 8th, 2022 | Originally published: January 8, 2022
The philodendron isn't always greener

I’ve had the same split leaf philodendron since age 19. It has moved with me a dozen times.

Before we left Seattle, I repotted a small limb of it and gave my sister the rest of the plant. Over the past six months this poor cutting has struggled, turned brown, lost leaves, and been dumped in the motorhome as we move around the country. I have nursed this little limb along since July, and finally we are experiencing new growth.  

We’re currently settled in one place for more than a season (a warm place, I might add). By having more stability I have been able to focus more on the philodendron. I’ve begun to set it out in the sunshine regularly, and it has begun to grow. It probably helps that I haven’t dumped the pot in over two months.

I think this means my little plant will survive and be stronger for the experience. It also symbolizes new growth for me as this adventure continues.  I am that little philodendron.

We’ve made it to six months on the road!!! I can’t say a huge shift has happened in our circumstances, but maybe my acceptance has grown. The adventure is more enjoyable now, and I feel like we are going to be ok.  No one has dumped over my pot in two months.

Touring the Grand Design

The philodendron isn't always greener

One thing that helped was taking a tour of a neighbor’s 5th wheel. I had been frustrated with certain aspects of our Class-A motorhome, mostly the layout and the single bathroom for five people. I’ve been researching 5th wheels and landed on a particular model of a specific manufacturer, the Grand Design Momentum M-Class. The layout looks perfect for our family.

Our neighbor’s rig was the exact model we had landed on. It was brand new and beautiful. After lurking around their rig while walking my dogs, I got my courage up to ask the owner about how they liked it.

They invited me in and I leapt at the chance to tour it. I met his wife, her name is Monica, too, so that helped. They are an empty nest couple that travel with friends. They are probably about ten years older than us, but their kids are the same age as my oldest – weird – I guess I started young.

Their situation is what I always hoped to do with my hubby – travel with friends!!! But for us the opportunity came earlier, and I know looking back that I will love this consecrated time we have had as a family.

The philodendron isn't always greener

Back to my rig tour ~ I have this little test that if I pull on kitchen and bathroom drawers and they feel like an Ikea dresser, I know we will destroy the thing. It is my belief that cheap cabinets and drawers indicate that other problems of poor quality probably exist as well. The drawers in our Newmar motorhome feel solid and close with a sturdy shut. So with permission I pulled on their drawers…

They weren’t like ours. They were exactly as I feared they would be.

Their layout is better than ours. They have the toy hauler with the bunk beds at the opposite end of the master bedroom, and they also have two bathrooms. How nice would two bathrooms be? Most of y’all have no idea. Perfect layout aside, I would be so nervous about my kids ripping the drawers off of the cabinets because we live hard. Not to mention that if the cabinetry is cheap, then the other systems may be of sub par quality as well.

The philodendron isn't always greener
We are fairly certain the quality is NOT sub-par here.

I was very complimentary of their beautiful, new rig — there was no need to burden them with my concerns about the whole thing falling apart in a year — but I came away with a new sense of appreciation for our rig. I enjoy a certain level of quality I would not want to give up.

Also, we own our rig outright! We have zero debt, and there is a freedom that comes with that. If we sold our rig and bought a 5th wheel, it would cost about the same, but now we would be taking on a truck payment. We can handle the payment, but I have better plans for that money.

Life is a Circle. So is a Fifty Cent Piece.

The philodendron isn't always greener
Training walks are wonderful at Folly Beach!

On our last training walk — we’re prepping for a half-marathon — Ryan and I talked about our financial situation, what we see in our future, etc. In Dave Ramsey’s terms, My husband is the nerd / saver and I am the free-spirit / spender. I spend the money, he pays the bills. It works for us. We used to have the same fight every month when the visa bill came. Now it’s more like every 3 months. We’ve both grown, even though neither of us has changed much.

We had our regular three month fight about money that morning. I apologized, but deep down was unrepentant. Think, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” Yet as we walked and talked he broke down our finances and enlightened me on where our money is going and where he would like to see it go.

For our 20th anniversary we want to take the family to Hawaii and Japan (would you like to babysit the philodendron?). The hubs broke down the expenses of flights, hotels, food, and spending money, then compared that to our income. We talked about how we can prepare to afford the vacation 4.5 years in the future, and how we can sabotage it.

I felt a weird shift in my thinking, and in that moment I became more aligned with his vision of our future.

Don’t get me wrong: The Amazon packages are still arriving in a steady stream. Baby Steps. 

I recently had a sad conversation with a friend we’ve made at the RV park. He was asking me what I thought of 401k’s and ROTH IRA’s. Honestly, I don’t think about them much, because my sweet husband, the nerd, handles the things I don’t want to. I’m the free spirit, remember?

That fellow camper made a comment about how we can’t all be “lucky” like we are, and it didn’t sit well with me. While we have been incredibly blessed, our “luck” has to do with the years of wearing garage sale clothes, driving older cars, and buying and selling properties. We have tried to be good stewards of the blessings we have received, and it’s paying off now.

I explained that to our friend. He recently sold his home and spent the proceeds on a fancy truck and motorhome. He stresses about money, yet goes out to eat at a fairly expensive restaurant twice a week. There is no retirement in his game plan and he hates his job. Some nights he laments his decision to sell his home, and some nights he buys drinks at the bar. Once upon a time I could relate to our friend, but then my nerdy husband came along.

It was not my intention to dump his pot, but to give him sunlight. His philodendron is currently brown.

Where I am Right Now

The oak tree is like an overgrown philodendron.

Between those recent experiences of looking ahead at what may be and looking back at what has been, I’m able to see the beauty of where I am right now.

We are six months into a life changing decision. It has been hard these past 180 days. I have seriously considered throwing in the towel and moving back to San Antonio. But as the things around me settle, and everyone makes adjustments, I am experiencing new growth, just like my sun-loving philodendron. 

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