I am not living the life I imagined. I think a lot of people can say that. For some, that’s a good thing. Or, it can be not so good.
Specifically, I’m contemplating the price of “paradise”…and if I want to pay it.
Tropica is in the news as the perfect place to live, work and retire. Real estate porn – colonial houses, pools, hammocks, low cost of living are why baby boomers are pouring into town. While the press extolls the beauty and virtues Tropica I’m thinking of going in the other direction.
First of all…I’m back. I was in Chicago taking care of a toddler whilst her mother (my cousin) was on a business trip.
Well. That. Was. Exhausting.
My friends warned me, but I thought, oh I can do this, I raised my own children didn’t I? Ahem. Within minutes of my cousin’s departure I was drawn back to the days of not being able to think a complete thought, to finish a cup of tea or read the newspaper. And: Not just a toddler, but a “missing her mother toddler.” Use your imagination.
Whilst many of you in western countries are returning gifts and shopping the ginormous after Christmas sales, I, here in Tropica, will be on the yoga mat, taking stock.
The week between Christmas and New Year’s is when newspapers, magazines and television make their round ups of 2016. I too find the need to take stock, to quantify and review the past year as I approach the new.
Whilst you read this, my daughter and I are in Tulum for a few days. We hopped on a bus across the peninsula to step away from the red and green scene which is so cloying in Tropica. You all know that living in Tropica has dulled my lifetime pleasure in Christmas. Santa next to a palm tree? Wreaths and frost, mulled wine and carol singing don’t sync in 90 degree Latinoland. So the beach is a perfect place to leave the anachronisms behind — for a few days anyway.
Fall in Tropica. The tourists are gone. Kids are in school. The hotels on the Riviera Maya are empty and prices are the lowest they’ll be all year. The snowbirds haven’t arrived yet. The air has finally cooled down to 80F/26C. The Tropicans are in bliss.
I’m filled with nostalgia for crisp air, sweaters, and the flaming colors of leaves. How I miss the autumn of my childhood in the U.S. Palm trees are always green. Halloween, which isn’t a Mexican custom, has drifted in nonetheless and is fighting with Christmas for floor space in Costco. Not a pretty sight.
In Tropica I spend a portion of each month making the rounds of the various utility companies to pay each bill in person and in cash. It’s the price of a low voltage life in paradise.
As I left the electric company and drove to telephone company, I had a dull thud revelation. I don’t need to rush anymore. I said it to myself again to make sure I understood correctly. I. Don’t. Need. To. Rush. Anymore.
Two days ago I returned from a vacation for a “big” birthday: a long, dreamy road trip through Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.
I write this during a steaming hot Saturday afternoon in Tropica. The skies just opened up and I’m storm watching with my animals. But my mind is still dreaming of places richly named: the Gallatin Gateway. Cowboy Heaven, an upper valley on Ted Turner’s extraordinary Flying D ranch dedicated to land conservancy and free range buffalo roaming. Skalkaho Pass. Choteau. Silver Bow. Medicine Lake. Bear Creek.
This is luxury: Swimming in the Gulf and not seeing another person as far as the eye can see.
If April is the cruelest month, then August is the lostest month. And it’s a good time to find yourself.
Staycating is the ultimate vacation destination in August. The world is on vacation: crowds, higher prices, delays. True, there is a sense of joining in the fun, and many art and music festivals are held during this high season. But…