As we’ve gone through the last few months of preparing to move to Valencia, we’ve spent time with friends and family. It’s been wonderful to connect and reconnect with people we haven’t seen in a while. They always have questions about the details and our decision.
I’ve also had to stop some of the subscriptions that we’ve gotten over the years. Things like a monthly massage club I belong to at a local Spa. And at times, I’ve had to explain why I’m stopping the service. Moving out of the country is one of the reasons I can stop contracts early.
When I explain what we’re doing, usually there is some kind of surprise. Always, there is a ‘Wow! Seriously? Why?’. Then I have to explain that we are indeed moving, that we love Spain and can’t wait to experience living there. And then I invariably get, ‘Are you sure its not just a mid-life crisis?’
My response? ‘Yes, that’s exactly what it is! Except I prefer the term ‘Mid-life Revelation.”
They always look at me like I’m crazy. But if its a subscription service, the contract is voided. If it’s people I know a bit better, they sometimes have an off the cuff list of all the things that could go wrong, might become a big problem, or reasons we might reconsider. Then there are the things that ‘they’ve heard’. That someone they know, who knows someone, has had a terrible time with. It goes something like this:
‘I’ve heard their health care is like the third world. My friend’s went there and they had to go to the emergency room and it was awful. You know it’s socialized medicine?’ When I tell them that none of this is true and that our medical insurance is 1/5th of the costs is is here, with 0 deductibles, their mouths hang open. ‘Well, they certainly never tell you that when they talk about socialized medicine in the US.’ I laugh – ‘Yeah, I know. But it’s true.’
‘I heard, from a friend, whose daughter had a Spanish boyfriend, that their taxes are terrible over there.’ To this, I explain all the things that are supported by their taxes. Things like top notch higher education, social safety net, and a host of other things. Their roads, infrastructure and transportation systems are much better than the US. You don’t have to own a car to get around the country at reasonable prices. But no country is perfect. We should know.
‘Living in Europe is expensive. You’ll run out of money really fast and you’ll be back here before you know it. With nothing left.’ I love this one. It sounds more like a wish than a statement of reality. When I tell them how much a house or apartment costs – they choke on their drink. ‘How is it so cheap?’ they ask. I respond with ‘I don’t know. But even their groceries and home furnishing and clothing is about 1/3 of what it is here.’
Then the conversation often turns.
‘Well, you know we’ve always talked about maybe moving to somewhere cheaper. Keep me posted on how it all goes. We might consider it.’
I don’t blame them. I used to be in the ‘What if…?’ crowd. My husband, Jeff, has helped me let that go. When ever I went negative over the years. Coming up with all the disaster scenarios that might go wrong. ‘What if this happened? What if that happened?’ he would respond with, ‘What if it all worked out beautifully? What if it’s the best thing we’ve ever done?’
He helped me go from always preparing for the worst, to looking for a path through. And then looking at the bright side. It doesn’t mean we’re not prepared for challenges on this adventure. It just means that we’re more focused on the upside and all the fun we’re going to have heading off into the unknown. And as we do this, I think we can help others think the same way.