This column is designed to offer Mexican living experiences from a woman’s point of view. I’ve been in Ajijic for more than four years, living as a single woman. In this time I’ve purchased, rebuilt and decorated a home; worked with agencies for handling disputes; dealt with the police and learned how to live comfortably on a fixed income. In future columns, I’ll respond to your questions and share many experiences that my friends and I have had while living in Mexico.
For this first article, I encapsulated a story I wrote and published locally about why I made my decision to move from the village of Aptos on Monterey Bay, California to the village of Ajijic on Lake Chapala in Mexico. It’s my way of letting you know a little more about who I am. Maybe you’ll recognize some of yourself between the lines.
Leap into Life
“Are you crazy?” asked Liz incredulously. “What are you going to do now?” Liz has been my best friend for 25 years. In her mid 50’s, she typifies the silent generation; while I, born only a few years later, heralded in the baby boomers. That age difference sometimes required us to straddle a generation gap. This was one of those times.
Liz would never be able to understand my hunger for change, and right then, I wasn’t sure I was very comfortable with it either. What had I done? I tried to explain to her why I had accepted an offer to sell my house and was ready to give up my existing life for one I had not yet invented. At the pinnacle of my career, living in one of the most desirable areas in California, I was giving it all up for what? I didn’t know that answer…yet.
Besides my career, I had two wonderful children doing well in their own lives and friends and family who were always there for me. Yet, I wasn’t happy. It was clear that doing more of what I was doing and getting more of what I was getting was not going to make me happy.
The previous month, I had spent two days in a small Mexican Village called Ajijic. I was hooked. It was there I hoped to find my answer. My approach had always been to leap first and figure out where to land second. That’s partly why Liz was having so much difficulty. As a member of the silent generation, she valued security above all else. Liz had been in the same job a quarter of a century; had the same boyfriend for 20 years; and owned her house outright. She didn’t make a lot of money but Liz was happy. I, on the other hand, had not lived in the same place for more than four years. My working life began as a secretary, followed by six different careers. I started two of my own companies, attended four colleges, lived in four states and two countries, and raised two children as a single parent. I thrived on change and challenge.
A typical empty nester, purpose and meaning seemed to be missing from my life. There was no more joy in bigger contracts or more prestigious clients. Been there; done that. It seemed obvious that this elusive happiness couldn’t be found while working 60-hour weeks in a high-tech, high-stress environment. There just wasn’t time for me — whoever me was. This was part of what I needed to find out.
Am I crazy? Liz wanted to know. I had no plans for the future. No idea where I’d live next. No other job in sight. The wheels of change were in motion. The buyer’s offer for my home had been accepted and there were only sixty days until the new owner took occupancy. All that was left for me to do was put one foot in front of the other and pay attention as the Universe unraveled its plans for me.
Yes, I thought, I am crazy.
So that’s the beginning of my journey to Mexico.