I heard a song the other day that I hadn’t heard in decades. The tune keeps running through my head and the words haunt me. I’m referring to “Let Me Be” by The Turtles.
As a teenager, this song had been one of my mantras. But then marriage and life set in and I fell into the common trap of trying to be the person everyone else wanted me to be, but not the person that I really wanted to be. And I am now at a stage in my life where I have the opportunity to find that person who had lost her way for so many years in the gargantuan abyss of others’ expectations.
I graduated from university in May and got married in June. I was only twenty-one, but then that was expected back in the seventies. Pre-nups? Unheard of in those days. My trust fund bought our first house. My husband became firmly ensconced in a business run by my family. And I soon found myself sucked in as well. Strong and ugly words to describe that one. But in those days I always put everyone else first. My dad was ill and it made it easier on everyone if my husband and I were involved in the business. And it did provide employment for both of us. But growing up I always resented the fact that my dad was consumed by this business. He was always working. I remember packing up my homework and going back to the office with him at night so that I could spend time with him.
And then my own children came along. Fortunately I was able to move my office home and I had the luxury of being a stay-at-home mom. Of course when my babies napped, I never got to relax. Payroll, month-end, year-end, taxes………..there was no end to it. And I had also gone back to college to obtain business administration and accounting certifications. Yes, that business had indeed sucked me in over the years.
I look back at my life and have no regrets. My happiest days were those spent with my children while they were growing up. And I know that I have instilled upon them the importance of getting an education. Both of them are established in professional careers and are thriving. I am so very proud of them, and they are the loves of my life.
When the opportunity to sell the business arose, I jumped at it. Of course it also marked the beginning of the end of my marriage. But more importantly, it also was a time of personal growth for me. I continued to pursue my university education despite the lack of support from my husband. And then once the marriage ended, I completed my degree and created a new and exciting life for myself here in Mexico.
I am finally now doing what I want to do. I don’t care what others expect of me. I am constantly criticized because I have chosen to live in Mexico and lead the lifestyle I do. Personally I feel that it takes guts to do what I do. And I am quite content with the simple life I have here. I teach, I write and I do volunteer work. I wake up in the morning with a smile on my face and eagerly anticipate what the day will bring. I am happy.
Now, if only my children would come here for a visit…………..that would make me even happier.
It’s Thursday afternoon, August 13th, and I’ve been living in Mazatlan now for about 2-1/2 months. It’s still holiday time here which means I’m not teaching at all this month. But I have found other activities to occupy my time.
My focus has been primarily on my writing. I am now in week 7 of a 9 week writing course from Duke University in North Carolina. I had not anticipated such a heavy course when I enrolled, but it has proven to be a great learning experience. Analyzing a visual image, writing a case study and an op-ed, learning about citation and plagiarism, evaluating the works of others——-it’s been intense but also very informative.
I’ve also being working on my next book. Although it will be a work of fiction, I will be drawing on some of my own life experiences. Right now I’m developing characters and plot lines. This is most enjoyable after having written two self-help books, When Glad Becomes Sad and Alive Again.
I belong to a writers’ group online called An Author’s Tale. I enjoy the weekly writing prompts as well as the camaraderie of other writers.
I am excited to learn that there is a writers’ group right here in Mazatlan. Meetings begin again in the fall and I look forward to meeting other writers and sharing ideas.
I have also become an active member of La Vina in Zona Dorada. As well as attending services on Sunday mornings, I have become involved in an outreach program. And I have also made some new friends here as well.
Although I haven’t found a bridge club yet, friends have introduced me to a game called “hand and foot” which I now play twice a week. This is the view as we sit by the pool and play cards.
I have also joined an organization called Vecinos Con Carino. This group is involved in supporting students and schools and also involved in the Lids For Life program.
Exploring Mazatlan fills my time as well. Before I moved here, when I visited I would stay at the Hotel Playa Mazatlan in the Zona Dorada and spend most of my time in that area or strolling along the malecon. Now that I live here, I have discovered a variety of other interesting places to check out, and my list is growing daily. I have mastered some of the major bus routes and navigating this city is less stressful than in Guadalajara.
My favorite place is still the beach, especially at sunset. I no longer merely bask on the beach all day as I did when I was a tourist. I read, I write and I gaze out at the magnificence of nature. There is something very calming about the ocean. I love the sound of the waves pounding or lapping at the shore, depending upon the weather. I love that salty sea smell in the air. The sand beneath my feet is a cushion of velvet. I have walked beaches from Hawaii to the Atlantic coastline, but Mazatlan surpasses them all. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever envision myself living in this magical paradise.
I do admit that in the soaring temperatures and high humidity I often take refuge in an air-conditioned mall, theater or restaurant. By bus, Galerias is ten minutes away, Gran Plaza is about 15 minutes away and Sendero is about 20 minutes away. These malls all have theaters and restaurants which I frequent.
Tomorrow is an open day and I plan to visit the art museum and the English speaking library, followed by lunch and a walk along the malecon. Weekend events include a pool party and an anniversary dinner.
A week in the life.