(Whistling Duck sits on a palm frond.)
It’s been exactly one month since I retired from full-time work as an executive director of a nonprofit organization. It’s hard to believe it’s been a month already. There were so many, many months of planning, thinking, dreaming, packing, moving, etc. And, here we are.
Some aspects of our new life as part-time expats have not been surprising – we had a pretty good idea about them. Other things have surprised us. I’m happy to say that all of the surprises have been good ones so far.
For those of you who may be contemplating life as part-time expats, let me share some of my observations after one month. Now, we all know that one month is not time enough to make adequate judgments or to draw well-founded conclusions. However, it has been long enough to take note of our experiences and see what we can learn from them.
So, here goes.
All the planning leading up to the actual move overseas was well worth it. Getting things in order, doing things well, making the transition with trust and faith were all crucial, and they have paid off. We have no regrets about the change or how we navigated it. It’s a good feeling. So…… Plan well. Deal with details. Be as thorough as you can as you make decisions, transition, and start your adventure.
Be kind to yourself in the process. I not only left my career and all the people I love who are part of it, but we vacated our home of 16 years, moved to another town, and then moved again to Costa Rica. Brenda and I have reminded ourselves on a number of occasions to give ourselves a break, to extend some grace to ourselves. These kinds of transitions are exhausting physically, mentally, and emotionally. We’ve lived through the full range of emotions, and sometimes we’ve just needed to step back, take a deep breath, look at the ocean, and let things go. Transition is exciting and challenging and draining. Love on yourself a bit.
Giving some structure to my new days has been very helpful. It sounds like walking the beach and lying by the pool are heaven itself – and they are! – but I’m the type of person whose mind needs to be active, creative, and challenged. So, planning a morning routine has been helpful – it has given focus to the beginning of the day, has given me a way to continue to focus on things important to me, and it has helped me transition from the daily office routine.
Here’s a sneak look into my morning routine:
- listening to inspirational/motivational speakers of my choice (youtube is full of them);
- reading inspirational works;
- a significant walk;
- an exercise routine;
- writing about a memory from my work and travels;
- teaching ESL two mornings a week online;
- and planning, preparing for, and writing blog posts about living overseas part-time.
- editing Brenda’s books (www.ticahousepublishing.com)
The rest of my day is free to do whatever I want. Again, this routine has been helpful in transitioning from a more-than-full-time job to a life that has moments when I could ask myself, “What do I do now?”
Taking the initiative to meet new people has resulted in some great new friendships. People who adventure overseas are some of the most interesting people around, and connecting with them and learning their stories is always stimulating. I’m glad we’ve reached out to people. It’s good to make new friends.
Missing your family is a real part of this life. We feel so comfortable here, like we really belong. We fit here in Costa Rica. But we have children and grandchildren still in the US that we miss every day. Thank goodness for whatsapp video calls! Our little ones call at all times of the day, and we are always excited to hear the latest from them. But we still miss holding them in our arms and sneaking a kiss on their cheeks. Planning times together and staying in close contact each day really helps. One advantage of being part-time expats is that we will spend months a year back in the US where those family members will be available for chats, hugs, and fun together.
Thank you for following my blog. If I can be of help in your thought processes and planning, or if I can be of any other assistance as you live part-time overseas or are considering it, feel free to contact me here.
And now, it IS time to hit the pool.
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