For most of my adult life, I’ve dreamed of being an artist. Whether an actor, painter, fiber artist, designer or interior decorator, I’ve done them all. I should say, I’ve dabbled in them all. You see, I was one of those too fearful to pursue their dangerous dreams and instead allowed the living of daily life to get in my way; to run me. The steady 9 to 5 job, the mortgages, bills, husband, kids, friends, commitments, committees and a myriad of obligations were given the freedom (by me) to run my life.
If I had been a mercenary, I would have calculatingly married a rich man. But dammit, love got in the way. At 34 I met and married a wonderful, funny, charming, sweet, tender man who loved me, warts and all. And I loved him, warts and all. His biggest wart being that, as a school teacher and baseball scout, his income dictated my necessity to always work. Now, I knew this fact when he proposed marriage in 1989. I knew this fact when I accepted. 20 years later, though, he is retired and playing golf and going to the beach, and I am still trotting off to work every day. And getting madder and madder.
I want to play, too! I want to travel with him, explore with him, do many of the things we’d like to do together, but we can’t. Because living in Orange County, California, is expensive. And as long as we live here, I have to work. Hell, as long as we live anywhere in the United States, I have to work. Why? Health care. Costs for an individual over the age of 50 are skyrocketing. We figured out that, for me and my particulars, total annual costs (not assuming any medical catastrophes) with an individual health care insurance plan will run me over $20,000. With costs that high, I would have to work just to carry the health care benefits.
So, I work. And I love my job. Since 1997 I have been the Marketing Director at an Orange County high end golf facility. Best job of my career, with the best boss and working associates of my career. And if I HAVE to work, this is a great place to do that.
But there’s still the hubby at home, sitting by the pool, golfing every day and snarkily waving “ta TA” as I head off to the office every morning. Here I am in my ’50′s, still letting the pull of daily living postpone my own personal dreams. And that has gone on for years.
Until a television show called House Hunters International made its way into my living room. Through that show, I saw many people putting aside their fears and making wholesale life changes. Many life changes involved moving to another country where living is different than what they had. That television show planted the seed in my soul that said life could be lived differently than it is.
Nothing was going to happen, however, until some familial obligations were to come to an end. My husband’s aging mother needed tending until she passed in January of 2007. Once that happened, we began to dream more and more, the possibility of making a change. Is it just a dream? Or could it be more? Is this something we could do?
In November of 2009, we saw another episode of HHI. This time it focused on Boquete, Panama. And that little town with its constant springtime climate in the middle of hot little Panama looked ideal to us. Is this something we can stop dreaming about and actually research? Or would this be another scenario we would talk about and never do anything about? Not unless I took action. “I’m tired of dreaming about this stuff”, I say to John. “Godammit, John, when are we going to get off our asses and just go?
He called my bluff: “How about next May?”
I called his bluff: “Done”.
And thus, the journey begins. Are we moving to Panama?