(Read the following in the best British accent you can muster…)
“Would you like something from the cart sir? Perhaps a drink or a snack?”
My 8 year old daughter and I could hardly contain our laughter.
It turns out that when flying to the UK, you get real life British flight attendants. Crazy, right?
We couldn’t help but think of that scene in the first Harry Potter movie where the lady offers Ron and Harry something from “the trolley”. I was almost tempted to say, “We’ll take the lot!” but held back.
“No thank you”, I said.
Then I turned to my daughter and we started laughing as we realized we were on our way to freaking England!
Not too long ago we said hasta luego to Cozumel…for awhile. We didn’t have a really good reason for leaving. We loved it. We just felt like it was time.
On our second to last day there, we sat eating panuchos (kind of like really awesome tostadas) and we almost cried.
Actually, I said to my wife, “If I really think about it right now, I could cry”.
It wasn’t just saying good-bye to great food. It was the whole thing.
It was leaving the most prefect ocean I’ve ever scuba dived in. It was leaving an amazingly peaceful and safe place. It was leaving a distinct and rich culture.
Most of all, it was leaving the many amazing friends we’ve made. That was the hardest part. That IS the hardest part.
After just about 5 months of living in Cozumel, I wrote a post called, “Confessions of an American Mexican”.
At that time, we had made friends and life was good. At that point, I had no clue that our lives we’re still just beginning there.
The iconic white sandy beaches, palm trees, and turquoise waters were part of our daily life. It was a “vacation life” as described to me by one of my friends when visiting once.
But it became something more meaningful than that.
We made friends. We made a new family.
When we left, we cried. We knew we would and we did.
As I think about what we did, the places we went, the stuff we saw, the people we met, I can’t help but be grateful to my past self who made the right decisions to get me to where I am today.
Don’t get me wrong. In no way am I saying I’ve arrived. But I love my life and it’s a direct result of my own past choices and actions.
I Do Not Conform
A while back a friend shared with me this thought, “It’s not about what you’ve done, it’s what you’ve become”.
As I look back on the last 2 1/2 years of our life in Mexico, we’ve certainly done a lot. But more importantly, we’ve been given amazing opportunities that would never have come to us in our home in Orange County. We’ve become more.
My wife and I spent the first part of our marriage trying to conform, trying to do what we thought was right.
The final turning point for us was me getting laid off for the last time. We finally gave ourselves permission to do something better.
We live this life because we have a ridiculously hard time conforming to what everyone else accepts as a “normal” life.
A while back I wrote why the alternative lifestyle should be the new normal lifestyle. I stand by those words.
And I see them beginning to happen. As people get laid off or are tired of their jobs, have challenges with their health, not enough time with their friends and family, and so forth, they begin to question things.
I know. I get these emails all the time.
They ask how we did it. I always just say we were dumb enough to go for it and it’s turned out just fine.
But please don’t take this as me saying you need to sell everything and move to a tropical island! You don’t! In fact, we’ll be headed back to suburbia this year.
It’s just about being hyper-intentional with your life. And you can do that anywhere.
“I Can’t Stop Smiling”
Thinking back to the plane, my daughter and I were in the middle of eating our onboard meal. It was full of the usual stuff you’d expect in an airplane dinner – a tiny piece of meat, some overcooked veggies, a bread thing, etc.
The funny thing is though, that you could tell that while the food labeling was in English, it wasn’t American. And we knew we were on our way to another country.
Then my daughter said, “Dad, I can’t stop smiling”.
I think that sums this up perfectly.
Life is what we choose. The results we see, the good and the bad, are the direct result of our thoughts and actions.
Choose the good. Discard the rest.
Make it so that when you reflect on your life, you can’t stop smiling.