There are a lot of ways to re-energize your life. For some, it may be a later-in-life career change, mentoring, volunteering, foreign travel, or perhaps overseas living. My life changed radically in 2015. I move to Mexico, accompanied by my wife and 82-year-old Mom. Our family was seeking a better end of life for my mom. She lived comfortably and well-tended for five years in a Lake Chapala (Jalisco) care facility. She passed away on Easter Sunday in 2020.
My life here continues. I now live in a well-tended community of seventeen apartments and am surrounded by some nice neighbors. Particularly good folks, but most are here (mainly) for the good weather and inexpensive living. I get that.
However, if these attributes are your main reason for picking up and moving south, I would ask you to consider framing your new life based on a longer view of Mexico for living. Ask some questions critical to the one topic many don’t explore when deciding to move overseas: How will you spend your time?
There’s good weather and lower living cost in hundreds (thousands?) of places around the world. Just bear in mind that one day you’ll wake up and ask, “Now What?” Here are some questions to get you thinking beyond palm trees, pool parties, and the security and comfort of a gated community.
What Thing Do You Engage in That Make Time Vanish?
Ever been so lost in an activity that you forget time, stay up late, or “forget” to eat? Maybe it’s a good book, gardening, painting, writing, or helping others via volunteering. In Mexico, your ability to “make time vanish” is a magical part of living here. It takes some skills and determination (especially around learning another language). It also makes finding a location and lifestyle that put you into purposeful activities, whether it’s alone or with like-minded neighbors. There are places in Mexico where “resort” living can grow old. Waves of newcomers, cruise ship hoards, or urban challenges can become distracting and take you away from your passions. Make “time vanishing” activities a higher priority, and your life here will blossom, under a warm Mexican sun.
What are you Enthusiastic about?
Some say passion is like fuel. You might think of passion as what gets you out of bed in the morning. It is hiking, music, discovery, travel, or helping others? If you look at your current “up north” life, how would you group together “themes” about how you spend your day? Is your curiosity still what drives you to learn about new things? If so, Mexico can be a head-scratching landscape of the “how” and “why” that makes living here so magical and often surreal. Dogs on the roof? Strick rule-following and toss logic to the wind flights of spontaneous joy? It’s all here. I’ve visited all of Mexico’s 32 states, and I still DON’T know more than I know. Living here is an endless journey of discovery around just about any passions you bring south (except “winter sports”.) Oh, if it’s the current American or Canadian political strife, that’s one passion better left at the border.
Are there Social Issues you are Enthusiastic about?
Can you distinguish social issues from politics? For lots of US and Canadians, that’s a challenge. For me it’s the same. I’m still reading and watching American media. The trick is whether you can let the madness go and see your new home in the light of Mexican societal realities. Mexico faces some daunting societal challenges: health, education, narco-violence, corruption, impunity, employment, the list gets longer and longer. The 1990’s mantra “Think Globally, Act Locally” can be a way to connect where you live without feeling completely helpless. Do have a “global view”? Does the community you are moving to have any grass-roots volunteer opportunities?
Just today, I was filling my gas tank at a BP Station outside Ajijic. I wandered over to a patch of grass with plantings and a sign. It’s a volunteer effort to facilitate pollination that’s building micro green space with plants that attract pollinizers. Geez, I got more than a tank of gas. I got a cause that I can connect with.
Your new Mexican home is littered with connections and causes. But only if you escape your bubble.