Five Lessons From Mexico

Oh, Mexico. You were so good to us again.

For ten glorious, magical days we got to totally, deeply unwind. I haven’t felt so relaxed in ages. Probably since our last vacation, which was almost six years ago.

That statement probably sounds very “first-world-problem-ish”, doesn’t it. In the grand scheme of major life issues, going without a vacation for a few years seems like a selfish, trivial thing to complain about.

It’s not, really.

Ken and I have packed a lot of stuff into those six years since our last vacation, and a lot of it was pretty stressful. Work difficulties, financial pressures, some serious health issues (that thankfully are under control now), several moves, and each of us losing a parent suddenly were just some of the things that made for a pretty intense six years.

Yeah. Those days weren’t a lot of fun.

But we’re still here.

When we were finally able to book our longed for holiday, we knew exactly where we wanted to return. The Excellence Riviera Cancun, where we had our last trip. We loved the resort on our previous visit and thought that because we were familiar with it we could drop into the relaxation zone much quicker.

We did.

I couldn’t help thinking that it was almost like coming full circle. As I sat on my oh-so-comfy beach bed and gazed at the sea, I thought, “What if I could go back to the woman I was when I was here six years ago, and give her some tips for all the things that were to come?”

Over our vacation I came up with a few things.

Sometimes you just need to sleep and eat all day. And drink a bit of tequila. I could not get over how much I slept on holiday. The first couple of days that was pretty much all I did, so I must have needed it. I only woke up to eat, and man, was I hungry. Real, natural appetite hunger. I can go all day without eating at home and not feel hungry, which is SO not good for me, and something I am really working on improving this year. But in Mexico I felt actual hunger, and I was astonished. It was like, “Hello body, where have you been for the last six years?”

In the fast pace of life, I think we can sometimes ignore what our bodies are trying to tell us. We keep pushing through, telling ourselves we’ll eat later or that we can get by for a couple nights on three hours sleep. But we really can’t. We still need basic things like restorative sleep, proper nourishment, and a good belly laugh. Sometimes we use the old  “I don’t have time” excuse, but we must make time for these things. Taking proper care of ourselves will in turn make us more productive, not less.

Now back to the tequila part. Tequila – not wine – was my alcoholic beverage of choice in Mexico. I was in the land that makes awesome stuff, so I was glad to broaden my horizons and try more of it.  I learned there is some fantastic tequila out there. Forget the cheap one with the worm that you tried in university.

My next point relates to this one a bit.

Life’s too short to drink bad wine. Though I can’t say enough about how incredible the Excellence is, their house wine was the only thing that wasn’t so excellent. The white was okay, kind of drinkable, but the red? I thought it resembled paint thinner. I wasn’t willing to pay extra for expensive bottles on their wine list, so began my dabbling in tequila, and discovered how much I like it. Serendipity.

Though it sounds like I’m kind of joking, there is some truth to this second tip I’d give my six-year-ago self. Life really IS too short to drink bad wine. For example, there are many times I’ve continued to finish wine I didn’t enjoy because I didn’t want to waste it, or the money, or because someone gave it to me. I certainly am not advocating wasting money, but why make yourself drink something totally optional that you don’t like? Rather senseless, isn’t it. Just learn from the purchase Joanne, and move on.

As I thought about it, I realized this principle can be applied to more than wine. You know, like when you go to something that isn’t compulsory because you feel “you have to”, or “it would be polite” – not because you want to. Or when you say something because “you should”  or because “it’s just being nice” – not because it’s how you really feel. I’m sure I could come up with even more examples.

But it’s time to get this. Life’s too short for bad wine. Might be my motto for 2017.

Sometimes you just need to plunge into a situation and figure it out as you go. Ken and I took a day trip to Coba, an archaeological site about an hour away from our resort. We were excited to hear that you can still climb the pyramid there, and were eager to connect with the people of the past by making the climb. The stairs are still solid, but wearing away in some spots and are quite steep. Silly us, we didn’t stop to think about any of that, and bravely began our spiderman-like crawl up to the top.

I should add, heights are not our thing.

When we arrived, the view was beautiful. Nothing but treetops and the bluest sky.

It was also disorienting. I couldn’t look down. I thought I felt a bit dizzy. I started to scold myself – NOW while at the top of this gorgeous historic structure, I was worried I COULD fall. Or Ken could. Or someone else going down could tumble and cause me to fall. I had lots of scary possibilities running through my brain. How on earth was I going to get down safely?

Yeah, good timing for those thoughts of safety, Jo. When there was no other choice but to go down.

I took a deep breath and said to myself, “Just concentrate and focus. Take it one step at a time.”

Which I did – shuffling down from step to step all the way on my bottom. Not very graceful, but I got where I needed to go safely, as did everyone else who made the climb. I was a wee bit proud of myself for it too.

Isn’t that kind of like life sometimes? Something doesn’t turn out the way you thought. But you focus and re-evaluate. You may have to go flat on your butt to continue your journey, but hey – you accomplish what you wanted to do.

Treasure – really treasure – the people you love most in the world. I don’t think I need to say much about this. We should remember it more though. Every day. When I think of these last several years and everything we’ve experienced together, I realize yet again what an incredible guy I have by my side.

Tell your special people often how much you love them. Show them too.

Finally, there is a whole world out there, and I need to explore it more. I’ve really missed travelling, and Ken and I are making it a priority in our lives again. There are lots of other spots I’d love to discover in Mexico, and that’s only ONE country. There are so many other destinations in the world I want to see too.

But aside from lengthy journeys across the world, there is so much to explore every day, in the places where we live our daily lives. We just have to be open to the discovery.

So, what would my six-year-ago-self have thought of the tips I’ve mentioned?

She probably knew some of them a bit – well, except the tequila part. But perhaps I needed to go through these last six years for all of these things to make even more sense to me.

Thanks for helping with that, Mexico. We’re already planning visit #3.

  • Love this post! Looks like a beautiful place, and I love the motto about the bad wine. I have had my share of it.

    • Thanks so much Nikki. Here’s to a new year with no more bad wine!

  • Love this post! Looks like a beautiful place, and I love the motto about the bad wine. I have had my share of it.

    • Thanks so much Nikki. Here’s to a new year with no more bad wine!