“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” – Fred DeVito
I can’t help but feel that everything in life has to be done with a sense of joy, even the tedious things. I’ve got to have a sense of joy and gratitude that the world doesn’t revolve around me, yet sometimes it feels like everything is working in my favor. It is as if something bigger than me (call it The Universe, a God, or my great Inner Self) is unquestionably on my side – whether I see that immediately or not.
My day to day in Mexico City is nothing like what it used to be. Last school year, I worked at a small kindergarten. I had a regular schedule where I woke up every morning at 6 a.m., worked until the afternoon and crashed on the weekends. As I have always loved working with young children, my job was immensely rewarding, but it was also demanding. On top of that, I was not only living paycheck to paycheck but scraping the barrel by the end of each month. Most teaching jobs force you to swap your free time for planning, report cards, and festivity preparation. I also struggled commuting in this massive, cosmopolitan but also 3rd world city.
If you have been following my blog posts, you know I had quite the challenge getting my work visa, and well…quitting my teaching job. From then to now, it almost feels like I have moved countries. These days I am finding myself creating my own schedule. I am personally designing work days that leave me mentally and physically satisfied. I have the time to do what I enjoy doing and I no longer find myself struggling financially.
Though I have established a bit of a routine in my work-from-home days, it is almost impossible to write an entry like An Ordinary Day in Madrid (a walk-through) – which was my intention. Back in Madrid, my schedule was unchanging and predictable. This was okay with me because my job at a Primary School allowed me to have an incredible social life and countless weekend getaways.
A typical day in Mexico City is quite different to my days in Madrid. Here, my alarm goes off at 5 a.m. in our modern studio apartment – breaking the silence with Jason Mraz’s “Have It All” song. I make sure my days are cheerful from the moment I open my eyes. I chug a glass of water while I turn on the coffee pot and let the magic begin. The first 30 minutes after I wake up are always exclusively for me. I either read a book or article, write in my Gratitude Journal, or reflect on the day ahead.
By 6 am I am already working in our walk-in closet, which also happens to be my office and online classroom. I teach English to students in China until 9:30 am. Then I eat breakfast and go for a jog-walk-yoga session in Viveros de Coyoacán. Viveros is a nearby park that has become my green sanctuary and source of sanity from all the urban noises. Mexico City has endless noises from your typical cars, trucks and dog barks to the more unique vendor sounds. The sweet potato vendor has a whistle that will pierce your eardrum day or night. The tamales vendor has a recording that plays over and over again until you either love or hate tamales. And the garbage pick-up will yell out “BASURAAA!” and bang on doors until people give them their trash. This is especially annoying on Saturdays at 8 a.m. You would think they are handing over valuables from all the shouting out there. So then…my workouts at Viveros are not only a luxury but a necessity. I always feel like myself again after a jog on the rocky and sandy track around the forest like park while I listen to my favorite podcasts.
Bradley and I get to have lunch together on most days. We touch base on our accomplishments and pep talk each other if we are feeling low. Having lunch together is a new pick me up that gives me further strength to go after my dreams one day at a time. By this time I am usually begging for a nap, so I listen to my body and snooZZZzzze for 30 minutes.
The afternoons vary a lot. From writing blog posts, planning lessons, running errands and studying marketing online, the hours fly by and soon enough it is evening. Some evenings I teach from 7:30pm-10:30pm. Other evenings Brad and I will open up a bottle of wine, cook together, and enjoy a guilt-free hour or two of Netflix. Most recently, I have re-fallen in love with reading. I am devouring old and new books, trying to learn as much as I can from successful people whose lifestyle is admirable from my perspective.
This routine is often broken up by subbing days where I go to the British School, Lancaster, and substitute for one (or more) English teachers. I am glad I have these days to connect with other people, and to continue gaining work experience in the education field. Ultimately, I am working hard to sustain a location-free lifestyle. The online world has proven to be a magnificent path to my globetrotting dreams, so most of my energy goes into establishing myself as a digital nomad.
In the midst of all these changes and unpredictable twists and turns in my career, I am creating a rewarding lifestyle for which I am truly grateful. Throughout my 20’s, I have not really been that interested in my own career or financial success. As I approach my 30’s, I find my goals and dreams are changing.
In all the dreaming and pursuing of financial freedom, location freedom, and time freedom jobs, I revolve my schedule around practices like Light-giving, meditation, yoga, writing, a gratitude journal, reading, time in nature, and fostering quality time with my loving partner. I am strengthening the career and financial aspect of my life around a spiritual core which came from my teens and 20’s. This spiritual structure is what maintains my consistent sense of well-being; this is what keeps me happy.
Looking back on last year, I was grateful and emotionally satisfied with my job. But something was missing. My first year in Mexico had a consistent sense of struggle. Everything felt so difficult. My relationship, friendships, my visa, and work fell under the “it’s complicated” category at some point or another. Last year, I was waking up at 6 a.m. instead of 5 a.m. Last year, I rarely exercised instead of having a work-out plan. Last year, I had a fixed salary while this year it varies month to month. Last year’s challenges made me feel despair. These year’s challenges motivate me for what’s ahead. This year, I wake up every morning with the unwavering feeling that something marvelous is happening. After a first year of chaos…a monumental change has come.