Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday Night Thoughts in West Ajijic

It is Saturday night and I can't sleep. I keep thinking about my upcoming trip back to the States. Those thoughts lead me to evaluating my entire life; all the mistakes I have made, people I have lost along the way, bad financial decisions, etc. You get the picture. Maybe you too have had these kinds of night thoughts? Transitions always bring out my anxieties.  Life is so much easier if every day is the same. Routines give the illusion that nothing bad will happen, that things will go on forever the same way.

I was reading about risk vs. safety. Everyone has to choose where along that continuum is most comfortable. Safety has many advantages. Security, even if it is a false security, makes it easier to feel free to explore higher needs. On Maslow's pyramid of needs, security is one of the most basic and creativity and spirituality can't be explored unless that one is met first. Unfortunately, in my life, too much security leads to boredom and from boredom comes depression, not creativity.  I have been living in beautiful homes this summer, like a wealthy person.  All my physical needs have been met and then some. I have never felt so secure. Yet I have not done much in the way of creativity or spirituality.

I have read a lot of books and recently started watching television. When every physical need is met then the missing parts become more glaring. I still haven't figured out what those holes are in my life. I just experience them as a sense of lack. They can't be filled if I don't know what they are. Many women and some men close to my age find fulfillment in grandchildren. I have none. I also don't have any particular talent that could keep me occupied. I am a Jack (Jackie?) of all trades, master of none kind of woman.

I am looking forward to being with my son and daughter-in-law but they have their own lives. A week or so will probably be enough visiting for all three of us. I will be visiting with friends in Portland and that is something to look forward to but I also have to do my taxes. That is never fun. Since I have been out of the States, I was able to get a six month extension.

I have many friends here who experience similar feelings I am now having about returning to the States. It is stressful up there. It is expensive. People are always in a hurry. Smiling at strangers isn't encouraged. Saying good morning to strangers is usually considered socially unacceptable. Since I am in the habit of doing both when I am in Mexico, my already fragile ego gets bruised with every hello that is not acknowledged or returned. Hope and habit keep me doing it. More people drive around in cars than walk. Everyone seems so isolated in those cars.  There are too many cars and traffic jams are everywhere.Then the people isolated in cars glare at each other and aggressively honk their horns. Not a fun way for me to spend the afternoons. I would prefer to spend my afternoons walking around town in Mexico and saying hello (Buenos Dias) to strangers. They always respond with beautiful smiles and that makes me happy. I love to see people smile. It touches my heart and for a brief moment I experience the presence of God through them.

Life is easier here. Of course there are problems here too. But now they are known problems and I can handle them. (So far I have been able to handle them.) Sometimes when I am in the States and in cars zooming along the crowded freeways, I get fearful and overwhelmed by it all. Then I just want to go back to Mexico, to my simple life.  I guess it is a balancing act; deciding just how much risk to take. Sometimes safety seems more important and at other times; risk and excitement. Life is interesting. There are so many challenges and choices to make.  I will do my best to look forward and not dwell on my past mistakes. As long as I am alive I can always make new mistakes to dwell on in the future. 

My window is open and I hear the chirping of hundreds of crickets. A loud Mexican dance band is playing a few blocks away. Tubas, trumpets, snare drums, the whole works. Raucous Ranchero music. Mexico's favorite music. The two dogs I am taking care of are sleeping beside me and I occasionally hear their slow deep sighs of contentment. The night breeze is warm and gentle on my exposed skin.  I am not wearing much because it is so warm. The night is filled with pleasures of the senses. Writing out these feelings has brought me back to the present moment. Writing has worked better than any anti-anxiety pill. The present moment is pretty nice. That is good because nothing else is real. The past is gone. The future is just a dream.  Maybe I will be able to sleep now.


  1. Pat

    Hello again from Chgo, just wanted to tell you that Mom did meet your friends Cherly & Billy in the neighborhood a couple of times while walking her dog "Pooche". Would be nice to see a picture of you, Billy, Cherly & Mom "Pooche" on this post some time, I share your blog with many of our friends & family who are also considering retiring to Mexico. They always enjoy your stories & pictures of what it's like to live in Mexico from a North American retiree perspective.

    Peter D

  2. Hi Peter, Thank you for continuing to read my blog and writing to me. It is a gift to me to read your comments. I am glad Cheryl and Billy have met your mother. I am a little bit more isolated than they are so I haven't met her yet. One of these days I am sure I will meet her. What kind of dog does she have? Patricia

  3. Hi Patricia,
    Your comments were very insightful, & your writing is always direct & honest when you share personal thoughts. You said you don't have "any particular talent" but I think your blog & what you are doing to help others is a real talent! So many of us appreciate the time you put into it, and we learn new things all the time because of it. Now that I recently returned to the U.S. from Ajijic, I continue to experience daily life there through your blog & I get to take new "trips" through your photos. I'm glad we got to meet in person while I was there, even though we missed connections the 2nd time. I was sad leaving Mexico but can't afford to come back anytime soon.....hopefully next year.
    Good luck to you on your trip back home; I share your dislike of the hectic pace & material way of life here. Again, thanks for sharing your feelings on the blog, because for me, hearing what you think & feel about life in Mexico (or anything else) is just as valuable & interesting as the photos. Even the short captions are fun & add some personal insights. Buenos dias, Jennifer C., Atlanta GA

  4. Hi Jennifer. Good to hear from you again. I too was sorry I had missed you that day. But the next time you come, let's spend more time together. I appreciate your positive feedback on my blog. Your friend, Patricia

  5. Hi Patricia,
    I, too, appreciate your writing and candor as well as the beautiful pictures. I am sorry to see that people in the U.S.sometimes do not acknowlege your greetings. As a resident of a medium-sized city in Virginia, that kind of surprises me!
    I hope you enjoy your trip and your time with your family and friends. And thank you again for sharing your thoughts. :)

  6. Hi Karen, Thank you. I appreciate you writing to me. I think that the larger the city, the more guarded people are to each other. I will keep saying hello to people and hoping to get smiles. It is well worth the effort. Thanks again. p

  7. Sometimes when I read your blog it feels like me writing....weird. I'm still planning on coming down in Sept/Oct timeframe - I really worry about being alone - not knowing a soul, not having anyone to go and do thing with, isolating, getting bored, etc. I'm hoping I can slow down and relax when I get to Ajijic; not feel in such a hurry all the time.


    I appreciate writing - keep it up - it helps all of us dreamers and isolaters out here

  8. Hi Karen, Thank you for writing. You won't be alone here. I, hopefully, will be back by then and all you have to do is go to the Lake Chapala Society and sit around for a little while. You will meet people. There are a lot of single women here and we stick together. Patricia

  9. Pat

    Hello, Moms dog is a West Highland White Terrier, or WESTIE...Maybe your recognize Pooche & and her owner walking around the Plaza or the cobble stone streets of the Village.

    Have a great day

    Peter from CHGO

  10. Hi Peter. Very interesting. I am taking care of two Westies right now. What great dogs. I will keep my eyes out for your mom and Poochie. Thanks, P

  11. Hi Patricia,
    Can't decide whether it's your photos or your comments that affect me the most, but they sure keep me looking forward to each addition in your blog.
    It's been a privilege to observe your life in Ajijic from afar.
    Thanks for sharing your home and yourself with us.
    And it's so great that you fixed your camera by banging on it! Brenda really is a genius :)

  12. Hi Nicole, Thank you for your compliments. I really appreciate them. Yes, leave it to a woman to figure out how to fix something...... Patricia

  13. Hey it works on my husband! ha ha

  14. HI Brenda, I will have to remember that universal repair technique when/if another man comes into my life. Thanks, P

  15. Greetings. I have been reading a lot of your blog and was very touched by this post. I just returned from my first visit to Ajijic and am hoping to get a positive response about a house I want to rent. I am female, almost forty, and have two dogs. I too have those late-night ruminations. I fell in love with Ajijic's gentleness and quiet charm and so very hope to move there in a few months. It will be a pleasure to meet you and share a cup of coffee together.


  16. Hi Angerona, What a beautiful name. Thank you for writing. Yes, let's get together and if the rental falls through I may have heard of something else by then. Patricia