Settling Sucks But We All Do It
If you are anything like me, there have probably been times in your life when you had to “settle.”
Maybe you went out for a great meal, only to find disappointment that the dish was less than stellar. Or maybe you went on vacation, looking forward to an amazing room and ocean view, but discovered that the new construction in front of your balcony was obscuring the view.
These are inconveniences that we deal with because, after all, things can’t ALWAYS be great, right?.
But, have you had to settle for a job that you had no passion for? Were you in a marriage or a relationship that you were not happy with, but afraid to move on for a host of different reasons? I have.
Like Vs Love
These thoughts came to my mind as I am readying myself to leave Mexico in September, a place I LIKE, but do not love. We have been hiding out from COVID since last March, unable to move beyond these borders.
My girlfriend, Kathleen, and I left the US permanently in Feb 2019, with the goal of traveling the world and staying for six weeks in different places. That amount of time, we figured, would allow us to REALLY know the area, enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes, as well as get to know the people. There is a world of difference between being a tourist compared to being a traveler.
We wanted to be travelers, and that is what we did for 14 months.
Spain, Italy, and Croatia were our first three ports of call, followed by six weeks on the road hitting many central and eastern European countries, including Austria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Montenegro, and Serbia. While I returned to the US for a series of business events, Kathleen returned to Croatia for six weeks. Upon my return, we moved on to Sicily, Greece, Tunisia and then to the Far East. A wedding in Ohio last spring brought us back to the US, just as COVID was growing and chasing us from every country we visited.
A Long Stop In Mexico
Since we had no home in the US, and because we had a two week break already planned in Mexico, we decided to chill out for a few months and enjoy the small fishing village of Puerto Morelos, just south of Cancun. It had been over a year since we just STOPPED and enjoyed.
That short chill out period is now at 11 months and we are still unable to move where we want, which is back to Europe. She and I both resonate with the Mediterranean climate much more than tropical, and since my heritage is from eastern Europe, I have a connection there I cannot define. Mexico and Central and South America were never high on my “need to visit” list, and when we initially left, we thought we would come back to this area when we were “done” with Europe. COVID cut that short. Even if we wanted to, Central and South America are dangerously high in COVID infections, and since the town we live in is small, it is remarkably safe.
But, and this is a huge but, we have had itchy feet for several months.
We talked about the idea of staying right here, where the weather is nice, it’s imminently affordable, and it’s proximate to the US. We have friends here, know the town well, and truth is, it’s pretty damn comfortable and we could settle down here easily. Which brings up the word “settle” which can mean two different things.
We could stay here and not love it, and wish we were elsewhere, or we could make our move towards our dreams, which is exactly what we are doing.
We both loved Croatia and have booked a flight through Lisbon and Rome to get there in September. Our thinking, hopes and prayers are that things will SETTLE down, and we can go without unreasonable restrictions.
I have a friend from the US who has visited us here in Mexico and loves it so much that he is planning to get an apartment down here so he can visit more frequently. When I told him about our plans to split he said, “Why don’t you just settle in Puerto Morelos?” And it’s a good question.
There is no right answer for us, as there may be no “right” answer for you.
Settling In Work And Love
I spent decades in a career I was good in, made good money, but had no passion for. I had to settle.
I was married for 27 years, happy for most, but not all of them, and when the 2008 Recession destroyed us financially, I had to “settle” and stay in a loveless marriage and a house I could not afford. But we dealt with that for four years until, in 2013, the dam broke, and the house, the wife, and the former life all went away.
A Fresh Start And Perspective
“Now what?” I asked myself.
The one thing I did NOT want to do was settle, so I reinvented myself, and over six years had one hell of a time traveling, dating, and enjoying and appreciating every day. Those “every days” continue still, and the idea of going back to “settling” does not sit right with me.
Sure, it would be easy to enjoy each day, go to the gym, have a nice breakfast, continue my writing (which I DO have passion for), hit the beach, and each day would be similar to the day before.
But Kathleen and I BOTH enjoy the novelty of moving around, living in new areas, and having access to the various things we have access to in Europe.
So, onward we go, I hope and I pray, off to Croatia in September. And no, we will not settle there, and may not SETTLE anywhere. At the ages of 66 and 68 we have more adventures in store and since rust never sleeps, we will keep on trucking as long as we can.