Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Choices We Make and Second Guess Later

Choices We Make and Second Guess Later
            There is no “we”. I am the one wondering if I lost my last wing nut. I’m down in the dumps, crawling along the bottom of the pit, rolling in slime and garbage. Well, it sort of feels that badly.

            After a month of visiting friends and relatives, being part of their everyday “normal” lives, I cannot help but make comparisons. Of course, I compare my insides (see above) with your outsides. You, of course, come out looking beautiful in my assessment, happy, joyous and free. And Secure.

            Secure in your house on the hill or your house in the valley—common denominator—your house. Secure in your everyday routine with job and activities and credit card payments, responsibilities, schedules and family.  (Let’s get some balance here.)

            My daughter Dee chimes in, “Mom, you are living your dream. For years you talked about living in Mexico. You figured out a way to make it happen and put your plan into action. You look happier than I've ever seen you.” She said this while fielding calls from her boss, the car repair place and a neighbor who told her that her horse had walked through an open gate and was happily chomping grass in their pasture. Simultaneously, she slammed dinner on the table and wrote a grocery list. “Do you want to move back?”

            “Not really. Visiting makes me glad to be in Montana. I’m greedy. I want to be in both places at the same time. I can’t help but wonder if I made a mistake. I’m second-guessing myself. I miss my friends. Yet, I will be glad to go home to my little studio in Mazatlan.”

            A couple days later I am at my other daughter’s house. Shea’s future father-in-law, Karl buzzes in on his motorcycle. After Shea introduces me, Karl grabs a guitar from the corner and serenades us with Spanish love songs. He then asks me how I came to move to Mexico. He has a thousand questions. He wants to know costs of groceries, houses, rents, hot to get around without a car, how do I communicate.

            As I answer his questions, describe bus service and everyday details, my spirits lift. With a gleam in his eye, Karl tells me, “Almost, thou persuades me. You are living my dream. For years I've imagined doing just what you are living. But it is sure hard to give up my stuff.”

            “That might be the best part of such a move, I explain. “These past several months have been like an extended retreat. I have all I need and few concerns.”

            “And she visits us two or three times a year,” Shea said.

            “I am alone in a foreign county. Some people find that daunting. The language is slow coming to me. I know enough Spanglish to get by. I wish I could correctly connect the nouns with the verb forms. It takes time to make friends. It would be easier if I lived in an ex-pat neighborhood, but I don’t golf and I don’t go to the clubhouse every afternoon to play Canasta. I am where I want to be for now. Who knows what tomorrow might bring.”

            Karl gave me a hug and his email address. I wouldn't be surprised to hear his motorcycle chugging outside my doorway in Mazatlan come winter. I’ll play tour guide. He’ll love it for a couple weeks, climb on his bike and roar back.

            This morning my friend Steve took me out for coffee. We had a great time catching up on family news. I had not seen him for a year. Tomorrow we agreed to have coffee again. He will bring Theresa and her calendar so she can schedule a trip. I feel better.

            Kim, the woman who bought my house in Harlem, just sent me a letter. That message is icing on my cake. I feel gratified to hear how she likes my old home and know that is the way it should be.

            I get short-sighted when I am the only person talking to me. Whew, it feels good to climb out of that smelly old pit of despair. My life would not do for everyone. For me, for today, though certainly not “normal”, my life is good.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

August 21, 2014

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