—Reinventing Retirement in Mexico
By Karen Blue
Review by Harriet Hart
Midlife Mavericks: Women Reinventing Their Lives in Mexico by Karen Blue told the stories of 16 women who moved to Mexico to build better lives, and gave readers “the courage to make significant changes in their lives.” Her new book focuses on baby boomers who have retired to Lake Chapala. The boomers you’ll meet include couples, singles, Americans, Canadians and Brits, gays and straights, full-timers and part-timers.
Part 1 profiles boomers building better lives for themselves, Part 2 features expats who have discovered their passion and Part 3 honors those who have decided to give back to the community in a significant way. The purpose of the book is to motivate boomers facing retirement to create one full of “potential, passion and purpose.”
The author defines baby boomers as the 80 million post war babies born in the USA and the 8.5 million born in Canada between the years 1946 and 1966. Those born first were influenced by events such as the assassinations of Martin Luther King, John and Robert Kennedy, the moonwalk, Vietnam War, social experimentation, civil rights and women’s movements, sexual freedom and drugs. “They appear to be more experimental, individualistic, free-spirited, and more oriented toward social causes.”
Boomers born after 1956 were influenced by the Cold War, raging inflation, gasoline shortages, AIDS, Watergate, and Nixon’s resignation, and are more cynical and distrustful, and less optimistic.
You will meet a cast of characters pursuing a variety of interests post retirement. Tim and Arlene, former health professionals, opened a Center for Spiritual Living, leaving medical science behind to embrace Science of Mind. Paul, a former government bureaucrat, took up photography and Charlie’s career in the oil industry has been replaced by his “higher calling,” raising funds for the Red Cross. Diane spent her former life as an artist; now she’s an entrepreneur. These individuals are modern day pioneers who left their country of origin to explore life abroad and, in the process, discovered themselves.
Blue wraps the book up with Why Choose Chapala? Mexico offers retirees a rich cultural heritage, spectacular beaches, a great climate, low cost of living and close proximity to the US and Canada. 1.5 million Americans currently live in Mexico; predictions are another 10 million will move here in the next 30 years.
Chapala is the largest expat community in the world! Blue attributes this to Mexican values (people over possessions), attitude towards time (live in the now), and the slower pace. Lake Chapala is beautiful, the weather can’t be beat, residents have access to health care and the cost of living is lower than up north. What are the drawbacks? Blue cites the language barrier, the noise and the casual attitude towards getting things done.
She closes by saying: “In this book, I tried to paint a realistic picture of the boomers who chose Lakeside, their reasons for moving here, and the lives they have built for themselves. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them better and I hope you did, too.”
I did. The author uses a style that makes the reader feel they are right there in the room with her. The opening and closing chapters are informative and clear. The 19 chapters in between introduce us to real retirees who generously share their experiences. Local readers have a chance to get to know their neighbors better and readers still living up north get a chance to encounter inspirational mentors.
Baby Boomers Reinventing Retirement in Mexico will assist countless boomers make one of the biggest decisions they will ever make: where and how to retire. Go Boomers! Go Blue!
(Book is available at the LCS.)