Decisions, decisions. Or, can we ever really go back?

IMG_7922I’ve been silent of late because I’ve been struggling. Struggling with a lot of things, really, but mostly with one big decision and that’s whether to return to the US for a year or two so my son can attend Middle School. The school is great – though more than twice the price we’re paying now in Mexico (3 times if I hadn’t gotten a dash of financial aid) – and I do miss the clean air and public lands of New Mexico. But my son absolutely does not want to go back. In his view he has tons of friends here, and a school he loves. I don’t see his friends being very engaged or inviting, and I don’t see him very challenged in school. Yet I do see that he is happy and that’s huge. Still, I feel a strange magnetic pull back to New Mexico. Is it my old self saying that things are just too easy here? That unless I’m in a state of stress, overwork or otherwise struggling, I’m not really living? This is of course very American, but I had hoped I was growing out of it. I may not know for sure unless I go back and see for myself.

Aiden does have friends in New Mexico. We have a beautiful home, the sale for which I pulled out of in the 11thhour because… well, I guess I just wasn’t ready. Which is why I figured maybe I should go back another year and see if I can find a tribe again. Because I don’t feel like I fit in the US these days, and maybe never did. But I’m afraid to let go of it. I’m afraid to let go of a lot of things, I’m seeing, even as I’ve moved forward so much.

It really brings up whether one can fully go back after embracing this lifestyle. Will I go back when Aiden is off to college and I don’t have him as a travel companion? I can’t really imagine that either. And what will I do to afford my return, particularly if it’s temporary. Since my cost of living would immediately skyrocket, I’ll have to get on it! Or maybe I’ve just forgotten how much I hate cold and snow, and need one more physical reminder to cut the cord for good.

I was so challenged by this decision I even consulted an empath. She had a lot of odd little things to say but felt strongly that I was living my best life in Mexico and that I would last maybe three months in the US, so why go back? Though she calmed my fears by saying that there would be no downside to trying it out, maybe even for a year, but to be clear it was a step backwards. Not exactly the life lesson I want to embrace as I cross the mid century mark, but maybe it’s exactly what I need to do to reorient my life course for good. At least that’s my optimistic spin.

I know that I have high anxiety about returning to the United States, but less so to my community in the progressive enclave of Santa Fe, where I was raised and have roots. Plus, I have such a deep love for the land. I also love the political discussions, engagement and activism of this little town, as well as other cultural offerings, even if everything closes down at 8pm at night. So maybe three months is enough to enjoy these benefits…?

Anyone else have suggestions or input, job offers or otherwise sage advice? I’m clearly open to and desperate for input.

Here’s some general advice I’ve received so far:

–Make a pro and con list. There are so many pros and cons it pretty much evens out.

–Trust your gut – my gut cannot be trusted these days. Full stop.

–Put it out for one of those hive mind votes: whatever people decide I’ll attempt, and I’ll write about it along the way. Yeah, but what if they send me on some Arctic expedition where I’m cold all the time.

–Try it out – Nothing is permanent, and maybe you have to see these things for yourself. It’s just another adventure along the way.

Towards this last one, I did find someone to sublet my lovely apartment while I’m gone, so I guess that’s covered. (And keeps one foot anchored in Mexico in the event of a hasty return.)

I’ll await the input of my dearest armchair quarterbacks and fellow travelers alike.

5 thoughts on “Decisions, decisions. Or, can we ever really go back?

  1. As one who is living in Santa Fe again after having left for 2 years – I had struggled worrying I was moving “back” – when eventually I realized that I was arriving from where I had grown to be post Santa Fe, I was able to see I was coming to a place I loved “anew” and was not going “back” in any sense of the word. It has me appreciate my connection to place in terms of the comfort I feel in this land AND has me having fresh and new connections to land, place, and people. Will it be forever home – probably not. Yet, my heart is at rest and growing. I feel that Santa Fe is different now than when I left and I am too. I like the freshness to both of us.

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      1. And hey let me know when you get back … would love to have you and Aiden over for a bbq and hang out. I am just off Osage on Otowi.

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  2. Dear Zelie,
    I have no advice to give on your dilemma. I just want you to know that if you do come back to Santa Fe I am willing and able to help you in any way I can. I could never take the place of your mom, but I am a mother ( and a grandmother) and if you and/or Aiden ever need anything I am available. Good luck on your decision. In any case, you can always change your mind.

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    1. Marie, you are so dear! Thank you. I did see photos of a recent camping trip Pete took in the Pecos Wilderness and my heart skipped a beat. That might just have clo nched the deal! Xox

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