Granted, while it may be a bit past that for me, I admit that I have reached that point where the end of one’s life begins to loom closer than the beginning. More accurately, I have reached the point where one notices that inevitable transition.
The label I prefer, if we must have a label, is “midlife course change”.
I’m not rushing out to buy a sports car, and I’m not chasing women half my age despite the fact that they are extremely attractive. I’m not trying to be younger, I’m trying to keep changing, growing, learning. I wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to have my 25 year old health and physique, but I have no desire to be 25 again. The choice I am making is about my present and my possible futures, not my past.
As soon as I am able, I am going to buy a small plot of land in Costa Rica. Then, when the value of my house enables it, I am going to move there, build a small home, and leave the American rat race.
I hope to accomplish this by my 50th birthday, which is three years away, but it may take a year or so longer. Technically, I could do it now, but financially it would be more risky. By that time, I should have enough equity to invest and live comfortably down there without working. By working, I mean doing anything that I wouldn’t do if I wasn’t getting paid to do it. I will continue to make art, I will continue to write. I will take the time to learn an instrument again, and I will travel, mostly in the Central and South American region.
If I stay here, I will have to continue to work into my sixties simply in order to survive from then on. If I move there, I can start living full time now.
I have used up enough of the world’s resources that, if I move to Costa Rica, I can, for the most part, stop using them. If I stay here, I will never be able to do that.
I have no desire for the conventional American life, or the conventional American retirement. What I want to do is live simply, make beautiful things, and be kind to people. The freedom to do that is within my grasp, and I am going to grab it.
This is an opportunity to learn by immersion another culture, apart from American arrogance, greed, and waste. It is an opportunity to live without spending the majority of my waking hours earning money for the basics of survival. I am wasting most of my time here helping to perpetuate the American fantasy of invulnerability and superiority. To survive, this country must feed off the rest of the world. As an individual, I don’t need to do that.
The United States may someday be a nation looked up to and respected (not feared) by the rest of the world, and I will still exercise my vote and voice from abroad to push it towards that goal, but it will not be in my lifetime, and in the meantime, I do not want to live here. I do not want to pay for the transgressions of this government or the corporations who own it. If I stay, I will. As I have said before, we will be attacked again and again. Maybe there will be another 9-11, maybe not. I think it likely. There are too many people with too many resources who want it to happen. The reaction of whatever government is in power here will be draconian. If you think the patriot act is bad, wait til next time.
This country will become more and more crowded and polluted, more and more controlled by its thirst for oil. Suburbs will become cities, and towns suburbs. By the time I would reach retirement age, I would be lucky to be able to afford a slum. I’m not going to work another 18 years, at things I don’t want to be doing, for that. I’m going to live my life now, learn as much as possible, create as much as possible, and travel as much as possible.
I am under no illusions that life in Costa Rica will be idyllic, and I am well aware of the risks and drawbacks of moving there, most of which I’m sure will be pointed out to me in comments. I am determined to do this, however. For the time being, I will not burn my bridges. I will responsibly invest whatever I make off of my house and live off of the interest. At some point in the future, I may decide I want to return here or move elsewhere in the world, probably the latter. If I decide to stay permanently in Costa Rica, I will probably remove my money entirely from the US economy, but that won’t happen until I know a lot more about the country and unless I have decided to stay there.
Come visit me in a few years.