Now, at an age where 70 is much closer than 60, I am constantly amazed by my own life. I just spent a few minutes chatting with a colleague in Ireland. It was 4:30 in the morning here in Cancun but hours later there. As we chatted, I realized that this woman was a true friend and a very cool friend at that. She is an editor I have worked with for a few years and is amazingly gifted and talented. She is also authentic to her core. I’ve never seen one ounce of bullshit inside this woman. I had a moment where I suddenly realized how lucky I was to have her for a friend and then it struck me. My life as an expat has accidentally assisted me in making some WAY COOL friends all across the globe! I know a number of other people who are also intelligent, talented and authentic and each of them has moved away from the U.S. or Canada to live a life in another country. In fact, many of my friends, these days, have lived in several countries and have travelled across the globe.
While many folks have been able to maintain a balance in life, shepherding all of life’s elements into a cohesive and functional existence, I was never able to manage that. My life was too hectic, too unbalanced with me permitting my career and the needs of others to win out over the many other elements of life I could have chosen. I did my best back then and my best usually delivered far more to others than to me.
These days, without the need to earn a living, I do absolutely nothing that I don’t want to do. (Retirement Does Not Suck!) Nothing! That is the greatest gift EVER! Each and every minute of each and every day is spent, like the valuable currency it is, with care and attention to my personal happiness. Now, I live for me! Selfish you ask? Yep! And it’s about damned time!
Living the life of an expat and writing for International Living and its affiliates have allowed me to meet some of the most wonderful and adventurous people in the world; not only expats but those friends I now claim who were born and raised in Ecuador, Mexico, Costa Rica or Ireland. After nearly 7 decades, I have FINALLY found my tribe and a wonderful tribe it is!
These guys have pushed through their fears to explore other cultures and live their lives across the globe. They (at least those I claim as friends) are intelligent, broad minded, inclusive and curious. The vast majority is, to some extent, bi-lingual and many share a common world view.
Frankly, it’s pretty tough to be a bigoted dumb-ass if you have successfully lived your life in a wonderful country filled with brown people. The fact is that living in one place, especially the very privileged United States, cannot provide much perspective and offers little in the way of cultural education or acceptance. One’s world view is greatly influenced when you subject yourself to a significant cultural change. To use a common analogy, you can’t see much looking through a soda straw!
I hope you are living the life you want to live. Only a few years ago, I made the decision to live the life that I want to live without compromise. Once I retired and moved to Ecuador, that was the catalyst. The doors to my past were closed and new doors were waiting to be opened.
My tribe is really cool and they get around. I’m damned glad that I finally found them! Oh, we have room for more members! Believe me, it’s a way cool tribe!