Have You Ever Longed For An Adventure?

SanMiguel2I mentioned in an earlier post that I was thinking of moving to Costa Rica. Well, I just got back from there, and I’ve decided it’s not for me.

Yes, it was beautiful in the rain forest. Yes, the people were lovely.

But…

There are two ways to see a place. One is through vacation eyes. I’ve been blessed to travel the world and always fall in love with each, but always through vacation eyes.

On my trip to Costa Rica, I was looking through do-I-want-to-live-here eyes.

But I still want that adventure. Here’s what I’m now looking for:

1) I want to learn Spanish fluently.

I studied Spanish at least thirty years ago. I took lessons once a week with two other women. Our teacher was a lovely young man from Barcelona, Spain. I even named my cat after him: Santiago (Santi for short.) I also spent two weeks in Cuernavaca, Mexico, where I went to Spanish school and lived with a Mexican family.

I was surprised and pleased how well my Spanish came back. Yes, I’ve been studying lately to prepare for my trip, but words bubbled up that I hadn’t thought of in years. So I’m pretty confident I will become fluent; just not sure how long that will take.

2) I want to experience living in a foreign country.

When I left my husband after being married twenty-nine years, I went to Maui. I didn’t like it there, so I went on to the place I knew I loved, Bali. I’d phoned my Balinese friend whom I knew was managing a hotel. I asked if he could give me a special price. He said he’d allow me to live in the hotel for free, in exchange for training his entire hotel staff how to interact with Westerners so they could upgrade their image.

I loved living there, but I was still in a hotel. I knew I needed to have my own place to feel like I was making a home for myself. Now I’m going to do that.

3) I want to get more for my money.

I’ve lived in Santa Barbara for forty-eight years. When I was married, my homes were big and beautiful. Since I’ve been on my own, not so much. I’m not complaining because I love living on my own.

But where I live is extremely important to me. I need certain things to feel like I’m ‘home.’ Like a little private area outdoors, with beautiful plants. And a dining room so I can have dinner parties. (I love to cook for friends and family.) And a kitchen big enough to do that.

Where I’ve selected will allow me, for the same rent, to go from a one-bedroom, one-bath apartment with no outdoor area I can call my own, to a beautiful three-bedroom home with gorgeous outdoor spaces. Plus, the dining room and big kitchen I miss so much.

4) I want to create a community of like-minded friends.

Santa Barbara is a difficult place to meet people. And I know I’m not the only one who feels that away. You’d think that after forty-eight years I’d have a huge community of friends.

If you’ve been divorced, you’ve probably discovered that it pretty much scrubs away the friends who weren’t really friends. I call them acquaintances.

Plus, now that I’m older and wiser, I’ve become quite particular with whom I spend my precious time.

One thing I’ve learned in reading up on expat living is that it’s easy to meet people because you’re in the same boat. Adventurous, seeking new friends, going out and enjoying what the new environment offers.

5) I want to focus on my writing and creative projects.

In order to build up my savings for my adventure, I started a new job a few months ago that keeps me away from my computer. I have a burning need to write, and miss having the time to dedicate to my favorite thing to do, other than readin, of course.

What do I want to write?

First, I have a novel I’m working on.

Second, two of my friends have been telling me I should write my memoir. I’m on chapter 3, and looking forward to delving deeper into that project.

Third, I have been working up my notes for a program that will focus on my favorite topic, how to be happy.

And fourth, I want to get my children’s book publishing company moving forward.

Also, I haven’t been able to make any videos since I sold my home with my recording studio, and I miss that. I also want to get my books recorded so they will be available as audio books.

6) I want guests to visit.

This one is easy because I’ll soon have a home with extra bedrooms. Family and friends will always be welcome.

Now the Big Question: Where Am I Going?

It was fascinating to let go of my desire to live in the tropics. I had wondered–now that I’m twenty years older than when I lived in Bali–if the desire for hot and humid environment was still there. It isn’t.

Discovering that I no longer wanted to live in a tropical environment opened new areas of the Spanish-speaking world to me.

I’ve selected a place that intrigues me. Partly because I’ve always wanted to see what it would be like to live in a big city.

Santa Barbara is a small city, with most all of the action on just a few blocks of State Street. Around 90,000 people.

I’m very connected to my family. We enjoy spending time together. We have absolutely no drama, just lots of love and laughter. And my son is having his first child, a boy, the first of December.

That means I need to be living somewhere fairly close.

I’ve decided the perfect spot for me is San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. It’s a quick flight, beautiful city, and will allow me to enjoy a home that will give me all that I have been missing. Here’s the home I hope to rent. But if not this, there will be something else that is equally enticing.

When do I make my big move? July 11th.

Now, back to packing up my apartment so everything I want to keep–which isn’t that much since I’ve been selling or giving a lot away–can go into storage.

I’ve committed to living in San Miguel for four months. Then I will come back to stay with my son, daughter-in-law, and her daughter (my new granddaughter), so I can help out before, during and after the birth, as well as bond with my new grandson.

Then, if I really love living in San Miguel, I’ll head back down. I love that Mexico has 6-month visas, instead of 3 months, like they have in Costa Rica. I’ll visit every six months so I can stay connected to my family and friends, and get to know my new grandson.

How about you? Is there an adventure inside you?

If there is, what’s keeping you from going for it? As far as I know, we only live once. I know if I don’t do this, it will be a deathbed regret. And that’s not okay with me.

A Radically Different Approach To Arguing

happy_couple2There’s no such thing as a perfect match. That means, there’s no such thing as a perfect relationship.

There are bound to be times when you don’t agree.

And for some, there are bound to be the occasional argument.

What if there was a drastically different approach to getting along…an approach that has the power to infuse your relationship with a brand new kind of love and understanding.

If you’d like your relationship to become ‘smooth sailing,’ you’re in luck.

Let me share a new book that has just been released.

I know the authors personally, and they are the cutest couple. They have come up with an effective new way to approach the little day-to-day issues that often become big, relationship-threatening issues.

The title: How Two Have a Successful Relationship. (No, that’s not a typo)

Here are the bullet points from their Amazon page:

  • How to find mutual solutions to decision making and problem-solving
  • How to remain an individual within the relationship
  • How to break the vicious cycle of anger and recrimination
  • How to avoid the pitfalls that create separation and estrangement
  • How to keep that original loving connection to your partner

I especially like the last one.

You won’t believe how simple their suggestions are, and how easy to make a part of how you interact and communicate.

You both want your needs met, and this book will teach you how to make that happen.

You can order the print version or Kindle version at Amazon.com.

You owe it to yourself, you owe it to your partner, and if you have kids, you most certainly owe it to them.

P.S. You know I don’t make recommendations very often. In my opinion, this book, and what Phil and Maude teach, should be required reading for every couple.

P.P.S. What you will learn will help every one of your relationships, both professional and personal.

Get your copy today: How Two Have a Successful Relationship

 

She Was A Sour Puss

Unhappy Woman

Unhappy Woman With Cloud Over Her Head

As I mentioned a while back, I’m moving to Costa Rica. So storage will be a must.

I was waiting at the UHaul this last Sunday and a woman with the sourest face walked up. At first, I felt bad for her that she’d gotten a bad rap with her gene pool.

I said good morning and told her that the guys were inside and would open at 9:00. She then proceeded to start complaining.

She complained about how they should open earlier, how she didn’t trust the drop-off box for her key, how awful the trucks were, then how rude the people always are.

I told her they were always super friendly to me. She hurrumphed and went silent.

Here’s what I noticed about her:

  1. She had nothing pleasant to say.
  2. She got back from people what she offered to them.
  3. After my experience with her negativity, I understood why her face had permanent scowl wrinkles and her mouth drooped into a frown.

My heart went out to her because, either her family taught her to be angry, bitter, and sour, or her life experiences sent her in that direction. Most likely, it was a combination of both.

But I couldn’t wait to get away from her negative energy. Ewww, shower time!

When I went into the UHaul, I enjoyed my usual super-friendly, playful way of being with people.

They young woman was delightful. I told her about my experience of the UHaul staff compared to the woman outside. I offered a teaching moment by telling her, “You get back what you put out to others.” She agreed.

I assume you know I’m all about enjoying more happiness, and in so doing, more love.

To get that to happen, you have to put out some serious effort. Here’s what I mean:

  1. Be friendly.
  2. Even playful.
  3. Stay positive.
  4. Be compassionate.
  5. Be easy to deal with.
  6. Remember that everyone comes from their own perspective of what’s going on around them. (It’s not just about you.)
  7. If someone is still a sour puss, bless their hearts and get the hell outa there. (Life is too short to allow someone to muddy up your energy.)

The benefit to you is you’ll feel better, see more good (it’s everywhere when you look for it), have more fun, stay healthier, experience more love, and enjoy life a whole lot more.

Is it worth the effort?

I believe it is…

 

Is It Uncool To Care?

Man sitting on sofa with PDAHave you noticed a trend going around that could easily be labeled: I Don’t Give-a-Shit About Anyone But Me. A good example is how people cross the street today. Do they purposefully walk as slow as they can? I feel like people have turned into human sloths.

I scurry because I don’t want to hold up the driver any longer than necessary. I certainly don’t cross the street staring at my iPhone, never once looking up. Maybe they’re so lost in the fascinating info on their phone that they simply don’t realize the car is there.

Along with not caring, they’ve become stupid. Do they not realize a car is a lethal weapon, able to, at the very least, break their legs if they only tap someone with their bumper? Before I step off the curb, I make eye contact with the driver, so I’m certain they know I’m there.

When someone holds the door open for me, I feel like a queen because it happens so seldom.

When it comes to relationships (all kinds, not just romantic) being considerate must be part of the mix or you’ll eventually be in trouble.

Why?

Because it shows you care. People need that, today more than ever. They need to know they matter.

Life is not just about going out, laughing with friends, getting drunk. It’s about being emotionally and spiritually available to experience those precious shared moments.

Doesn’t it feel great when someone ‘gets’ you? That creates a very special and unique bond.

At the beginning of a relationship, you pay attention to the other person. You look for ways to show them you care, and that you understand them.

Then, the newness wears off and, too often, it’s back to, “what’s in it for me?”

Listening, I mean really listening, to someone is an amazing gift of kindness and consideration. You can’t ‘get’ someone if you don’t pay attention to them.

When you look deep into each other’s souls, you feel seen. That deepens the bond you share. That can’t happen if half of your brain is waiting for the next text or Facebook update.

Do people today even know that it feels good to be kind and considerate? Maybe not. Maybe that’s at the core of this trend toward self-absorption.

I love it when I see an article or video about young people reaching out to help others or make the planet a better place. It gives me hope that we’re not doomed.

If you want to improve the quality of your relationships, I highly recommend ‘giving-a-shit’ a try. Go out of your way to be kind and considerate. Look for things that you can do to put a smile on someone’s face.

Go for a heart-to-heart connection and you’ll discover how good it feels. No iPhone can ever give you that.

Is Love In My Future?

DancingWithAmberNote: This post is about romantic love. There are many types of love. I’m blessed to have my family and friends love, as well as the love that comes from knowing I am part of this magical planet and universe. This article is about romantic love.

Now that I’m single again, people automatically talk about my ‘next’ relationship. Funny how it’s assumed that’s gonna happen.

At this stage, I can’t see myself in another relationship.

I feel like I’ve kind of done it all.

I had a very successful 29-year marriage if you don’t count the last 18 months.

But actually, the last 18 months were the best part if I consider my personal growth. Nothing like walking through fire and falling into one shit hole after another to force you to grow. I actually chose to stay in that mess until there was nothing more to learn. The moment I realized I had learned all I could, I left for Maui, then moved on to Bali.

After my divorce, I had the pleasure of ‘getting it on’ with some very delicious and fun younger men. First, while I was living in Maui, then when I moved to Bali. And then some more fun when I got back to Santa Barbara. Having lost my virginity to the man I married, I needed to experience what I’d missed out on. It was all good and helped me discover new things about myself.

Then I married the Dung Beetle. That was my greatest mistake. Every time I think about that time, I always end up asking myself, “What was I thinking?” So far, it’s a big mystery. And this, coming from a girl who is great at digging up the lessons. But at least, I can relate to the women who need advice about choosing someone who isn’t good for them. The best thing was that I got to live in Ojai and meet my special Ojai friends.

Next, I met Chris via Match.com. He’s a lovely man and we’re still friends, but if you don’t include the first date, it was fairly passionless from the get-go. It was enjoyable, with lots of trips around the world, but in the end, I would prefer to be alone than in just an ‘enjoyable’ relationship.

Finally, I met Stephen, who allowed me to live out one of my fantasies, to be with a black man. We had such fun. Lots of laughter, lots of sex, and lots of love. He was the only one who loved me unconditionally. Talk about a man with a big heart. That was great…until it wasn’t. So, I ended that one too.

So what’s my point in sharing all this?

I think mostly, it’s that we shouldn’t feel like we have to be in a relationship to be happy and fulfilled.

It’s important that we learn to enjoy being alone. I mean really enjoy it. Not just tolerate it.

When you’re alone, you can decide what you want.

I can look at each of my relationships, including the ones I just ‘got it on’ with, and see what I was seeking. Some of it was neediness. But mostly, there was something at that stage of my development that I was looking for, except for the Dung Beetle. That one will probably always remain a mystery.

So back to enjoying being alone. In cleaning out my storage, and getting rid of stuff in anticipation of my move to Costa  Rica, I came across this poem. I’ll share it here because I think it fits with this blog post:

I dance,

I dance alone…

For the sheer pleasure

      of dancing,

For the sheer pleasure

      of being alone;

For the feeling of motion,

For being alive,

      celebrating my aliveness.

I’m in wonderment

      at all that I am

     and all that I can be.

I’m one with the universe

      and all that it has ever been.

To dance,

To dance alone…

I wrote that poem after a meditation in a workshop many years ago. It’s haunted me all these years because I felt selfish to enjoy being alone.

Now I get it. I’m finally doing something just for me. I’m moving to a new country where I don’t know a soul. I’ll be alone as much as I want, and when I want to interact with people, which I always enjoy doing, I’ll walk down into the village. I can show up exactly how I want to, with no preconceived ideas about what others expect of me. The thought of that is more freeing than I can express with simple words.

Is there a man in my future? Who knows. At this stage, I’m open to whatever. But I don’t need it.

Note: The image is me dancing not alone, but with my daughter at her birthday party.