In the previous article in this series, I began approaching how to tackle the idea of designing your lifestyle in Mexico. We explored the idea of departing from Square one. The One Question to Ask Yourself Before Moving to Huatulco. And not beginning at the end: what is it Huatulco really needs.
In this series, my goal is to share some of the processes Erin and I used to design our own, authentic lifestyle in Huatulco. We wanted to create an everyday life that resonated with us. Of course, I don't pretend to be a guru in lifestyle design. I'm just sharing some things that worked for us. In this article, I continue with some of the considerations and even exercises we worked through during that transformational phase of our lives.
“… Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive,” said Howard W Thurman.
As you work through these questions and even begin taking some notes and making some lists, some doubts will arise. No worries. We’ve got you covered. We had them too.
What Is Your Ikigai?
The Japanese word combining the word “life” or iki and the word kai meaning “the realization of what one expects and hopes for” is a concept that can guide us through a meaningful self-enquiry.
The Japanese concept is essentially explained as the meeting point of what you are good at and what you enjoy doing. Ikigai is specified as the point where four self-defining elements meet.
What do you love?
What does the world need?
What you are good at?
What can you get paid for?
Ikigai or our “reason for being” is that space where these 4 elements come together. Or what makes one’s life truly worthwhile. Work on defining your ikigai. Make 4 lists. Draw your own version of this graphic. Observe where the elements naturally overlap. In the process, define one simple thing you can do or be each day that is an expression of your ikigai.
What Would You Do If…
Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Work Week goes further. He writes that this definition of what I really want, what are my priorities and what I’m good at begins with imagining I have $1 million in the bank.
What would your daily routine look like if you take money out of the equation?
Think about that.
What would your daily routine look like if money was not a consideration?
Waiting until you feel like you have enough money is the soul-sucking status quo that we all doubt before we step out of our comfort zone. Waiting on the “someday” when I will have more money is the best excuse for not stepping out of one’s comfort zone. Step out. Correct course along the way as you create a life to align with your priorities.
“Busy yourself with the routine of the money wheel, pretend it’s the fix-all, and you artfully create a constant distraction that prevents you from seeing just how pointless it is. Deep down, you know it’s all an illusion, but with everyone participating in the same game of make-believe, it’s easy to forget.
The problem is more than money.”
Tim Ferriss, The 4-Hour Work Week
Margaritas on Mondays?
In examining our lifestyles and considering alternative ones, we by no means are trying to create a zero work or zero stress lifestyle.
We are however advocating for the healthy use of energy and skills and building lifestyles that allow us to be truly responsible for our own.
All of the expats here get remarks from friends at home who imagine us sipping margaritas on the beach on Monday afternoons. Not that this scenario does not play out sometimes, the simple truth is that we have designed lifestyles to put our skills to work, on our terms.
We no longer have the Sunday-evening blues. It’s sunny every day. We go into work on Monday doing something we enjoy and it’s sunny when we finish our day. We can also have lunch at the beach or the marina and head back to work in the afternoon.
A long list of “But’s”
You have to reconcile your own excuses and reasoning. However, you do not have to immediately justify to parents, family and friends. Step out onto the branch on a trial basis. Chances are, family and friends will see the positive effects of your lifestyle change on you and in your mindset. They can then learn to accept that your decisions are in your best interest. This doesn’t mean you love them any less. On the contrary, living an expat lifestyle has a bigger chance of bringing you closer to family and friends.
Although less time will be spent together, the time that you do have together becomes higher quality time. Less quantity, more quality. More deep connection.
“Lifestyle Design,” as defined by Tim Ferriss, focuses on creating more time for yourself and becoming more geographically mobile. In our case, we are not in search of creating an excess of free time. We are simply focused on being productive or putting our strengths to work and spending less time on overcoming our weaknesses.
So When is the Perfect Time?
The commonality among most of the expats who have decided to move to Mexico and change their lifestyle is that there is never a perfect time. If we put it off, it won’t happen. If we take concrete steps toward a lifestyle change, it will. You have to instigate the changes you want. Read about one family's life-changing story here.
What are the “shoulds” in your life?
How have your “shoulds” kept you trapped in a non-ideal existence? I should keep this job for the retirement savings plan. I should not change jobs because in another year I’ll have a higher level of seniority. I should not move because it would be hard on family. I should keep this job because in a few years, I can retire.
Sure, it may be difficult to imagine a different lifestyle in Mexico. Certainly, it may be easier to imagine what life looks like 5, 10 or 20 years down the road if you stay on the same track you’re on.
Take your time and think about your deep questions. Do the Ikigai exercise. Read The 4-Hour Work Week.
Then join me in the next article of this Lifestyle Design series and go a little deeper in exploring how to create your alternative lifestyle in Huatulco. If you’re interested in knowing more about becoming a Huatulco real estate investor, join me for a live webinar.
Comment below on what makes you come alive!