If you want to dive into the deep end of another’s life, as I tend to do, my natural curiosity leads me to asking “When your life was going a certain way, what happened that you can now point to with clarity and say ‘That, right there, is where my life changed directions.’”
I’ve asked countless time and am always impressed how quickly everyone answers even if the question was completely unexpected.
Obvious answers are the marriage proposal not accepted or waiting too long to have children. Not all responses are obvious and can involve a childhood move to a new city or simply when you met a certain person when your spouse was napping.
For me, it was when I was 14 and my childhood pal died both suddenly and unexpectedly. The following month Three Mile Island threatened to explode and turn the area around Hershey, Pa into a radioactive chocolate bar.
At this young age I learned life changes on a dime. So, for me, if I wanted certain experiences I had to make them happen ASAP as treading water simply wasn’t an option. So I did my bucket list becoming a diplomat, millionaire entrepreneur, father (and single parent, though that was not on my list) while living in a wood house on the beach in record speed. I felt I had to.
Then in my 40s when many Toone men have checked out of this plane I had an opportunity to sell my technical writing company and retire early. I had assumed I’d work forever, not having a pension, but was enticed by both the offer and knowing opportunity is never a lengthy visitor. So, at 47, I retired and waved my children goodbye as they headed off to college and I came to central Mexico.
It was a reflection of my desire to experience retirement before I was dead and my lifelong quest to life live in fast forward. My father had retired early also (when I was in grade school) and referred to that as his favorite time of life. (Granted, before that came his bed-bound mother while growing up in Harlem, a pesky world war and a gaggle of my siblings so by comparison having just 10 year old me at home was a breeze.)
I meet many folks on tour contemplating retirement in Mexico. My advice is always jump first and trust there will be a net. You simply cannot know what the future holds for you so if an action feels right, pursue. I’ve never regretted retiring early and starting a whole new life filled with writing bestselling books and leading tours with interesting folks from around the world. All the while dancing for hours every day as a volunteer teaching seniors, children and all those in between.
Books, dancing, tours on faith and history may not be your future. I certainly never saw them as mine never having done them before I got to town, but that’s just it. Retiring to Mexico can open all sorts of windows no matter how many doors have shut behind you.
So come play in a new sandbox and be open to opportunities. The end result is often now where near as interesting as your foray into Mexico.
Joseph Toone is the Historical Society’s short-story award winning author of the SMA Secrets book series. All books in the series are Amazon bestsellers in Mexican Travel and Holidays. Toone is SMA’s expert and TripAdvisor’s top ranked historical tour guide telling the stories behind what we do in today’s SMA. Visit HistoryAndCultureWalkin