As our Mérida house closing drags into fourth tortuous month, I cheer myself up by reminding myself how this whole move has improved me. I’m an improved person because I’m focused and goal-oriented, just like I was as a young man trying to start a career. My everyday choices are seen through the prism of this goal. Watch TV or practice Spanish? Buy that gadget or save my money? Get caught up in the social whirl around me, or focus on future friends and social circles? The answers are now blindingly obvious.
It’s great to fall in love. We’re totally smitten with Mérida, although it wasn’t love at first sight, I have to admit. This whole plan doesn’t feel like a plan to escape a place, but rather a plan to integrate somewhere else. Being an expat in Mexico actually sounds great, and not the worst-case scenario that a lot of people think it is.
We’re more conscious of our spending. Having a big goal in front of us, and know we have to achieve it with cash, makes us less spendy. I no longer feel entitled to dining in a fine restaurant once a week. I don’t throw money at situations like I used to. The idea of shopping as entertainment went out long ago, and I’m not the fashion plate I used to be. I show up at clothes that are 10 years old, and don’t care. I’m buying pants, shirts, sweaters, socks and underwear at the warehouse club, not Macy’s or Brooks Brothers (big sales notwithstanding). With Christmas coming, I also know I won’t be overspending on presents. Money that would have gone toward some tchotchka will be going to a lounge chair or some hammock hooks at Casa Nana.
I’m focused. The future doesn’t loom ahead in the shape of a big question mark. We actually have a plan for the second half of our lives. You can’t buy that feeling for any amount of money.
I’m learning. I’ve learned so much about language, culture and geography. I really believe I had almost stopped taking in new information.
I’m interesting. Or at least less uninteresting. There’s always something to talk about at work now. Co-workers are always asking about this move with an air of something close to admiration. I’m daring! I’m cool! I’m outside the envelope!
We feel free. Please see my past post on the phuhkits. My priorities are clear, and they don’t involve keeping up with the Joneses and all the other social sicknesses that infest the place I live now.