The idea stuck with me: living a simpler and more intentional life. The film Minimalism opened my eyes, and as I was subsequently listening to The Minimalists Podcast, I reflected on my current situation: I had bought a condo too big for me with the hope for a partner to move in sometime; my closets were full of stuff that I never used and didn’t need; I was unhappy in my career, which was ostensibly successful but unfulfilling and stressful; and my relationship was less than ideal.
While I had a good income, I was shocked to discover how much money I was spending every month, and it didn’t seem feasible that I would still be paying off my thirty-year mortgage after reaching retirement age. My lifestyle kept me tied to my job and was not sustainable.
But aside from shedding things and living more modestly, I couldn’t think what else to do with my life. My boyfriend was talking about moving to his homeland, Romania, together, which seemed like a crazy idea to me. But slowly, as we watched travel videos and as I grew more and more discontent at work, I opened up to the concept. Maybe it was possible, even exciting.
As I was selling whatever stuff I could and donating most of the rest, I arranged for the sale of my condo, which brought in extra money, and with the savings I already had, it would be enough to live on frugally for years. Then I could figure out ways to earn a modest income while I was living somewhere less expensive. And if things didn’t work out, I could always come back and do my old job.
During these months of preparation, I learned that my boyfriend wasn’t that committed to making the move with me after all. We still believed that we loved each other, but I was too far into dissolving my current life, too excited about the prospect of a new adventure, to just give up on it. Other relationship issues compounded, and with a broken heart, I decided to start out on my own.
After some research, I settled on Mexico as a new destination and switched my language lessons from Romanian to Spanish. My resignation from work was amicable, and many of my colleagues were happy for me and envious of my newfound freedom. So I had “minimized” my condo, my belongings, my car, my career, and my romantic relationship within only nine months and was left with nothing but a suitcase, two carry-on-size bags, and the freedom to start anew.
My new life isn’t yet what I wished it to be. Starting anew is filled with new experiences and challenges, and I value the personal growth that comes along with living outside of my comfort zone. It isn’t easy to adjust to living in a new country with a different culture and language, but I enjoy the learnings and the adventure of it. There is no imposed structure on my days anymore, so I had to make up my own. I am grateful to have made new friends here, but I don’t believe that I’ve found my new home yet.
Next, I am going to travel via intercity buses through Mexico and explore different regions and towns along the way. I am open to learning and experiencing more, and maybe I even find a place where I want to settle down. I’ve realized that life doesn’t have to be all figured out upfront to be deliberate.