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How Do You Imagine Your Life?
I never imagined this...
There have been times when I have maintained a meditation practice. I will admit, it has been inconsistent. But I was pretty consistent prior to our move. And while I attempted not to think, it was hard not to imagine what life would be like in Portugal.
Do You Imagine
Today let me pose a few questions for your consideration. My first is: “Do You Imagine”… i.e. do you ever take time to think about the life you have and want. I know throughout my life I didn’t give it a great deal of thought, instead just allowing my life to unfold before me. Sure I spent time thinking about my work life…the next position, the next move. But I failed to spend much time thinking about what I really wanted my life to be.
This lack of thoughtful contemplation may have led to my mid-life crisis. Quitting my job, dropping out. Spending nearly 3 years in our garage painting…consulting 2 days a week to get by. After 3 years, Denise kindly but firmly told me it was time to go back to work.
Life in Retirement
But more to the point…today, I spend most of my time interacting with expats/immigrants.Most are retired, and some are just recently retired. Retirement seems to be one of the catalysts for considering how we want to spend the time we have left:
How would I rather spend 8-10 hours each day?
What will now give my life meaning? How will I “define” myself?
What activities make me happy? What causes me stress?
What would my ideal life look like?
If I could be anywhere, where would I be?
It takes courage to ask yourself these questions. And many of us don’t ask the questions until after retirement. Perhaps this is why many retirees experience depression. In fact, 1/3 of all retirees in the US experience symptoms of depression at that stage of life.
Is this the Life You Imagined?
Next question … “Is this the life you imagined?”
You see, the impetus for this post occurred a few weekends ago. An American expat was hosting a dance party at a local restaurant in town. Cafe Latte is one of the “expat hangouts”. They have a second floor that can be reserved for parties…and that night for a dance party. We could hear what I affectionately call “boy club techno music” about two blocks away. When we entered the second floor there were swirling lights and there may have even been a fog machine. I was instantly transported to a time in my life when I spent a great deal of time in bars!
I leaned over to a recent immigrant and said, “When you were envisioning life in Portugal, is this what you imagined?” We both agreed … it was not. But we also agreed it was a wonderful addition to our “normal Portuguese life”.
We are very fortunate, here in VRSA. Several expatshave stepped up and made the transition to life in another country easier. From answering questions…to arranging meet and greets…to hosting a disco dance party that in many ways transported me to an earlier time in my life. As the night progressed, a few “locals” joined in. It is believed that many wanted to join but assumed it was a private party. So the party will be moving to the ground floor in the coming weeks. Stay tuned...
Meanwhile, we will still have the local Mercado filled with fresh vegetables, fruit, and fish … the corner cafes that permit us to sit all morning having only ordered one coffee. Many of the stores will still close at lunchtime. And a near-empty beach will still be a short walk away. But at least one night a month there will be “Raining Men” and “Last Dances” and memories of my younger self.
This is not the life I imagined…it is better.
I hope you take time to imagine your ideal life…what does it look like? Are you living the life you imagined? What surprises have you experienced along the way?
Até a próxima semana, fica bem
We are fortunate to have developed some friendships with Portuguese couples…but the majority of our friends are immigrants.