What are you afraid of?

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What are you afraid of?

The question can be asked two ways. One way is out of human curiosity and possibly meant to start a philosophical discussion.

The other way is a SNAP OUT OF IT kind of way. 

I was talking to the little old guy at the end of our driveway yesterday. He came down to invite us to his barbecue.  We were in the middle of loading a moving truck before we headed off to meet friends to watch fireworks. He figured out that we were moving because we said, "Yeah, we're moving" and then decided it was a good time to chat.

Note: If you're neighbors are frantically packing a moving truck, either help or get out of their hair. They're busy and too polite to tell you to pick up a box or tell your story walking.

Anyway... our little old neighbor, rather than letting us get our work done, starting in on his usual chat. Some old people, with all of their years of memories, tend to hang on to one story/complaint/idea and chew on it like a dog with a meatless bone. This guy is one of those old people. Our conversation went much as it always does. 

  1. We talked about the trees that needed to be trimmed because of the fire hazard (he's a landscaper, so a self-serving complaint).
  2. He asked how the kids were doing (the kids that he sees walking past his house with the dog ever day).
  3. And then he said that the owners of our house would never be able to sell the house because they're asking too much (even though they aren't asking anything for the house). 

And then, sparked by the topic of us moving to Mexico, we got to another one of his standard topics, which was his plan to move to Europe and how he doesn't want go until he can rent his house to someone he trusts because you can't rent the house to just anyone. 

The first time I heard this idea, I thought, "Wow... that's a really cool thing to do after working for so many years. Hope he and his wife enjoy the lifelong dream of living abroad." But over the last couple of years of being his neighbor and hearing him talk about how long he's been planning to do this and then ending with his concern about who would rent his house, I know that this guy is one of those people that just likes to say they want to do something, but they're going to let fear stand in their way until it's too late to do anything.

And then they die.

Dreams unrealized.

I kinda want to say "SNAP OUT OF IT!!! " to him, but I'm too polite, and really, it's not my place. I'm just glad that, although there are plenty of things we could get hung up about, we're making our move anyway. I can't say that there aren't a lot of nervous butterflies bouncing around in my belly, but I can say that beyond the fear of not knowing what's on the other side is the fear of becoming one of those old people that hangs on to the same story/complaint/idea and never moves on to living before it's too late.

At the very least, this should be interesting!

 

Letting Go of the Old Stuff

We found a house in Mexico that would be big enough for our lives and all of our necessary stuff. It's not huge, but it is comfortable. Still, not wanting to carry too much with us until we see how our basic items fit, we grabbed a storage space to hold some of our things until we are properly settled.

The last time I rented a storage space, I ended up needing more than the original 10x10 space I had rented. I ended up needing an "overflow" space for the things I couldn't cram into the first space. And I'm like a Tetris GENIUS when it comes to storing and packing, so there was like, A LOT of stuff. Eventually, after a few return visits, I got rid of enough items to get everything into the one 10x10. Although I was bummed at that time, it felt good to get rid of things that I no longer needed.

Then, when I moved into my little cottage, I had really limited storage space. There wasn't a garage, only a small shed in the side yard, but that was for the bikes and boogie boards. I had some Gorilla Racks that I used to house about twelve storage boxes and then covered them, shabby chic style, with fabric. Those racks couldn't hold everything that wasn't already in the shed, so I had to get rid of more stuff. This purging was a bit more difficult. I remember being sad, but funny enough, I can't even remember what it was I was sad to let go of.

Now, in preparation for our move to Mexico, we are at the storage space stage again. Interestingly enough, we find ourselves with the opposite situation. We only rented a 10x5 space and it's probably not even going to get half full. And the things that are going in there are mostly precious memories from having four kids and forty three years of living. That stuff is NOT get-rid-able. Before anything goes into a box and then off to the storage space, we make sure that it's not something we can give away or live without. Lots of impulse buys haven't made it into the boxes and onto the storage space, but rather bequeathed to good friends. We're trying to be very realistic about what we hang on to, but there's less hand wringing this move. We've purged so much for so many years that we've started looking at this more clinically and less emotionally.

Don't go thinking we're cold robotic minimalist creatures. We've got our eyes on some more stuff! New stuff for our new life! Stuff we've been wanting to do but didn't have the financial breathing room to do. Stuff we can enjoy as a family. Stuff that is part of our new environment.

Like kayaks. 

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A few Stand Up Paddle Boards. 

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Maybe a pop-up tent. 

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And a Fishing Boat.

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Shit... we're going to need a bigger storage space.

Boxes of Books

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I have several boxes of books, catalogued. The idea is to keep the books in those boxes and, should I wish to read any of those books, I can look it up on my handy dandy spreadsheet and find which box it's in. I was feeling so uber organized. 

But then I started thinking about those books as living things, filled with friends, and now I feel like I'm imprisoning them and I should be taken out back and beaten for sticking my friends in boxes. 

Hubs recommended unpacking them and putting them up on bookshelves like we had them before, and that's tempting, but I keep wondering why I leave those books on shelves for years and years with no other purpose than to point to them and say, I read those. It seems mean to trap your friends on shelves just as much as it is to trap them in boxes.

I thought about selling them, but then I thought about how much time and postage would go into it.  I thought about donating them, but they'd end up on shelves again, wouldn't they?

Then I came up with a genius idea. I'm going to have a book picnic before I leave. I've been wanting to have a picnic with friends before I move. I'll just bring those with me and introduce my fictional friends to my real friends!

I just love parties... 

 

Mentally Exhausted Before Even Moving

Is there anything more daunting than moving? It's an exhausting and mind-numbing exercise similar to pushing a boulder uphill.  There's no way it's not one of the most stressful events in a person's life.  I keep thinking that we're just too old for this... carrying box after box, lugging large pieces of furniture in and out of the moving trucks, going to bed with aching knees and backs and hands, thinking we can totally do this with ease… but we can't.

There's a lot of heavy lifting to do before we get to hang out on that white sandy beach. Just thinking about the heavy lifting of moving is making my heart heavy.  I'm thinking about how much I'm going to ache, physically and mentally. 

Change, regardless of why you do it, is stressful, physically AND mentally. And this move is going to be a whole lot of change all at once. There are a thousand little details that have to be planned, organized, and executed. I wish I could just wave a magic wand and be on the other side of the unpacking already! We should probably just hire a moving company here in San Diego. Moving checklists might be helpful. When you're stressed about a big move, the simplest things can slip the cracks of a cracked mind. 

Finding the house after finding the neighborhood after deciding on the city in the foreign country we decided to move to was not as stressful as packing boxes is going to be. I tend to over-noodle things, including what to keep and why. And then I start crying over old photos and letters that I come across as I'm deciding. That's when my husband hands me a glass of wine and there-theres me.

I've got to be honest. He's been handing me a lot of glasses of wine lately. I'm stressed about the packing and unpacking, of course, but I'm anxious about the next phase of life. We're leaving our comfort zone behind, and with that, all the things that are familiar on the daily. I know we're still close enough to come back often, but things that were a constant way of life now won't be.

Although it's not going to be easy, it's a good thing.

A change of scenery gives you a chance to get out of your comfort zone and release some innocuous daily habits that are sucking the life out of what you should be doing. And by "you," I mean me, of course. There's a lot I am able to accomplish in a day, but I don't always because I get drawn into the latest tragedy/scandal/brand fail on Twitter or Facebook. Social Media is such a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it has brought me so many great experiences. On the other hand, I don't manage my time on it well enough.

I was talking to some friends on this last media trip, tossing around the idea of not having wi-fi at home. Naturally, they thought I was crazy. I don't know… maybe I am. But I think I'm just ready to approach content creating and life differently. Like I told them, It's easy enough to access at the Starbucks nearby. Plus, I really want to be focused about the time I spend online and off. It's just too easy to spend all day online, arguing politics, chatting about the latest food craze craziness, or reading through everyone's intense cardio workouts while I sip my Americano.

Life's too short to let hours frivolously whittle away, not living intentionally. That's what I need to keep in mind as I release my grip on comfort. As my friend Fadra reminded me... 

What's life if not for living?

 

 

We're Moving to Mexico!

Crazy, right? 

Well, not really. It's something we've been talking about for years, but we hadn't planned on doing it quite so soon. We expected to make the move when we retired, but then things went sideways with Mr. Jones' partner and company, leaving us scrambling to figure shit out.

One morning, I sat straight up in bed with one thought on my mind. As hubs handed me my coffee (like he does every morning... don't hate), I shared my crazy idea with him.

"Why don't we just move to Mexico NOW? What have we got to lose?" 

Now, I know some of you will answer "Your heads" to that question, but we're not being stupid about our move. Yes, there's trouble. The media's been reporting on it forever. But if you'll notice... not a lot of innocent parties in the reports. If you go looking for trouble, you're going to find it. It's true in Mexico. It's true in the U.S. It's true in any country.

It's easy to see why so many Americans have been flocking to Mexico for so long. Moving to Mexico cuts living expenses more than in half, medical services are top notch and affordable, and the there's the white sandy beaches and warm climate. Although it's long been seen as a retirement destination, there's a new wave of families with young kids moving down there now. Good quality American and international schools are available in most of the larger expat cities that fill the need for the families that are moving to Mexico.

We already had three locations picked out that are safe, have American schools, and are near the beach. We were all ready to go check out houses in those cities when hubs got a call to fly out of San Diego again. I can't tell you how mixed my emotions were about that. On the one hand, hubs had a job offer. On the other hand, we already had our hearts set on moving to Mexico. But since he'll only be flying a few days out of the month, we split the difference and decided on a place on the beach in Ensenada. We'll still be close enough to come up on a regular basis yet far enough away to really be in Mexico and go exploring down the Baja Peninsula.

Ensenada is a huge port city and fills up with Americans every Saturday when the cruise ships come in. I spent a few weekends partying down there in my younger days, I can't lie. But the place we picked is further down the coast at the southern end of the bay, away from the touristy part of Ensenada. And there are some familiar amenities: Starbucks, Jamba Juice, Home Depot, Costco. Kinda funny. It's a pretty active area, which isn't surprising. There's plenty to do: surfing, kayaking, fishing, riding on the sand dunes...

Did I mention the lobster?

 

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There's also a thriving wine country in Valle de Guadalupe just a bit inland. We'll be moving just in time for the crush season, so I'll definitely be doing a little wine tasting. Something I didn't know... wine and food tour companies based in San Diego bring folks down to enjoy the culinary delights of Ensenada every weekend. 

Naturally, I'll be sharing our travels, some Spanish lessons, and tips on the best places to get wine and lobster. Hope you'll come along on the adventure!