On November 30, 2012 I celebrated my 44th birthday by boarding a plane with my eight-year-old twins on a one-way ticket to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
My husband Frank had left a few days prior by car with our 90-pound chocolate lab and our 14-foot aluminum boat filled to the rim with all of our remaining earthly belongings after a two-year process of massive downsizing.
We happily and willingly said adiós to five-lane freeways and a rat-race mania for a slower and more connected way of life.
No Map, No Worries!
Frank will have to tell the story of how he did the 1400 mile trip from San Diego to San Pancho, Nayarit without a map–something about just heading south?!
He made it safe and sound in four days total–car and trailer intact–and Seamus slobbering on the back of his neck the entire drive down. Fun!
As we approach our ten year Mexi-versary, we pause to reflect over some of the more noteworthy life lessons our time in Mexico has gifted us.
The following is our (not comprehensive) list of Life Lessons from Almost a Decade in Mexico:
1. Savor The Moment
Here in the land of “mañana” there is a palpable beckoning and invitation to slow down and to take it all in. The sensory stimulating nature of a quintessential Mexican town, alive with a mosaic of sights and sounds, make it nearly impossible to not pause and linger in the magic of the moment.
2. Honor Your Heritage
Mexico embraces her rich history, values her cultural roots and honors her young and old alike. Her people celebrate with intention and a reverence for the sacred, family and community.
3. Life is To Be Celebrated
Weddings, Quinceñeras, Blessing of The Horses, Day of The Dead, the list goes on…there are oh-so-many wonderful reasons to celebrate life in Mexico!
4. Never Lose Your Sense of Wonder
Living in Mexico invites one to stop and look around, to be in the moment, to celebrate the textures and layers within the day, to pay attention, to notice…to be participatory and present.
5. Common Sense & Situational Awareness Go A Long Way
There is a certain organized chaos on the streets of Mexico–families of four piled atop a motorcycle, off-leash dogs dodging in and out of traffic, police officers in the middle of busy, four-way intersections–a cacophony of sights, smells, and sounds emanating from the markets, corner cantinas, mariachis, city buses and street vendors. To some it might seem to be a chaotic, lawless and haphazard way to live–to others, a fabulous cultural immersion that lends to community, connection and feeling alive!
6. Honor Thy Family, Community & Friends
I love the importance of the family unit in Mexico.
A very good friend is often referred to as a primo (cousin) or hermano/a (brother/sister). Our children have as many, if not more, tíos and tías (uncles and aunts) here in Mexico than they do in the States simply due to the fact that family ties are not limited by blood relations alone.
Conversations are sin prisa (without hurry) and you can count on a customary kiss on the cheek between young and old, male and female alike.
There is a strong sense of community and connectedness–united, loyal, hard-working, welcoming and generous of time and help.
7. Live Sustainably
Delicious and affordable street tacos, super-sized fresh fruit cups, chicken rotisserie dinners complete with tortillas, rice, salad and grilled peppers, shopping at outdoor markets and Mom & Pop stores, all lend to one’s ability to live fully and sustainably in Mexico.
There is never a shortage of fresh, locally grown produce, meats, cheeses, wines and breads–and many, thankfully organic.
8. Be Grateful
This was not meant to be a promo for Coca-Cola, but I love this capture of a cowboy with his horse, taking it all in at the jardín in San Miguel de Allende.
From the jungle to the desert highlands and back again twice each now, I have thousands of pictures of our immigrated lives that capture, as they say, a story within the image.
I am grateful that I live in a country that provides plenty of sensory-stimulating experiences and that I get to share these life lessons and insights with a community that values and appreciates my work.
These are our Life Lessons from Almost a Decade in Mexico. What about you?
Do you have any life insights to share from living in Mexico? I would love to hear about them in the comments section below!