This morning I was conducting research for a client who needed some fresh topics when it came to the obstacles faced by women in the mid-career stage of their lives. When I googled a “specific” definition, these women were described as being in their 40-50’s. I began the memo to the client breaking down her needs by including this description. I went on to say how women may find themselves in this “career” stage due to divorce or having been laid off from a previous career or even just choosing to enter a new career for the remainder of their lives.
I read through some articles, some that were specific to women as well as others that talked about professionals in general who may be entering this stage of their lives. One article discussed facing fears dealing with money or potentially choosing to earn less in order to explore parts of their lives that they felt they had missed out on while working such tiresome hours while trying to reach certain career goals while in their 20-30’s. Another article focused solely on regrets…making sure that the readers were not making a mistake…or hadn’t when they were younger, choosing their own career paths.
A light bulb went off in my head…
Now this does tend to happen while I perform research about different topics for clients…I have a habit of internalizing much of what I write about. It may be the American in me…or it may just be my habit of being able to turn everything into a blog post just for you!
Back to the light bulb…I have begun to have my own doubts about my own life decisions. Questioning whether or not I am in the right place at this point in my life. The decisions I made in my life that brought me to live in Central Mexico while working online towards a career as a virtual assistant, were varied and, some might say, risky. But yet, I find myself judging my own life and asking whether or not it’s time to make a big choice for myself again. Take everyone else in my life out of the equation and just make a decision for myself. Yes, there is always money in my thoughts…I earn a meager income by American standards but my rent is equivalent to $200 USD per month…so it really is all relative.
I have a nice life here…I live in a beautiful city with great weather and amazing food and I’ve made such amazing friends. And I can easily have a nice life based on my current income. What I don’t have though is money for a rainy day. Whenever I travel, especially to the States, I really feel how little money I actually have. It’s painful to spend $20 (400 pesos) on lunch or $50 (1,000 pesos) for an excursion! These things cost me less than 100 pesos for lunch and most excursions just include my having to fill my gas tank! So I think about my future and wonder if it’s not time for me to run back to the States to start earning a sizable income so that I can stop worrying about money again. This would also allow me to travel again…possibly back to Europe during paid vacation time (something I don’t have with my current employment).
Would that make me happy? Or might I once again feel as though there is something missing in my life…something I hadn’t realized was missing while I was still in the States, until I found it here. Do I take that risk and once I start to miss it again I just say, “Well that’s what I sacrificed” in order to earn what I will be earning again? If I feel bad…I can still jump in my truck and just then drive to see the friends I still have in the States…my cousins (my actual cousins). Or will I then kick myself for the people and environment I gave up? Will I hate myself for having traded in my job at home that I can perform naked if I should so choose…for another job where I’ll have to wear (and purchase) suits and high heels again?
And does this mean that I will never be able to find a man again with whom I can imagine sharing my life with? Having decided that the men in the States (or at least in NYC) had become so pretentious and superficial? Or was it an age thing back then? I always dated men older than me, but maybe if I returned to the States, the men of my own age will suddenly be enough for me…having lived a life before me, with nothing left to prove?
And not that I’m complaining about the man I’m currently with. He is an amazing man with a soul that could never compare to any other. Someone who is generous with his time towards others as he travels all over the place teaching and supporting clients of all ranges. The problem is that his traveling tends to leave me home alone, waiting for him. And being that I adore all that he does, I would never complain about his work or his traveling…if nothing else, I try to help him as much as I can by always being there for him to talk to while off traveling alone…supporting both him and his grand ideals.
Now is it time for me to remove him from my decision-making process as well? Do I ask myself what would make me happy…only me…no one else? And am I just feeling bad due to the crappy weather here that tends to stop me from being motivated to do much (not to mention my low expendable income)? And that I should stop blaming his travels on it? I try to spend time reflecting on what makes me happy…today it was a screen saver for my phone that has dolphins swimming across the screen. That made me so happy…and will, anytime I pick up my phone to see them.
Last night, I attended a funeral…a good friend of mine just lost her 90-year old grandmother. And she’s silly when it comes to priorities and had been nervous about the men who were in attendance (ex-husband, ex-boyfriend and current boyfriend). And there I was explaining to her that her grandmother did not die to give her a tough time…she has to remember that things are not always about her…but that life happens regardless of what she “wants” to happen “when.” I drove there in a torrential downpour and then home late at night through similar weather conditions, wearing heels and feeling exhausted.
But exhausted in a good way…I felt as though I had helped her. (I always feel that way when I spend time with this super good friend of mine.) I had a life VERY different from her’s and, while we are the same age, I know that she appreciates hearing my perspective on things. Tonight I plan to share with my cuz who is in need of some advice as well. She and I, also the same age, came from two different sides of the world! Yet, I know she appreciates hearing my perspective as well. This is “work” that I don’t get paid for, but which leaves me feeling so fulfilled in life! (Like how I leave my man when we are chatting in the afternoons or early mornings, when he has time between meetings/conferences/flights/driving trips to talk…happy to have that connection with me.)
So I ask myself, is life really about money? I always swore I would never make a decision based on money. God knows I didn’t think about the pay cut I had to take when I traded in my 6-figure job for a spot on a dive boat off the coast of Mexico! Why should my “relationship” with money change now and cause me to give up all that I’ve accomplished to live and exist (and survive) in a foreign country?
I’d ask someone for advice, but in the end I feel as though the decision has to be based on my own perspective, of my own life…belonging to no one else…which is what makes each of us different from each other.