On May the Fourth be with You of this year, I arrived home from a wonderful vacation to Puerto Rico with my whole family. It was the first time our children joined Pierre and me in this yearly excursion. Normally I would’ve arrived home feeling all, “Home Sweet Home!” Not this time.

I got off the airplane in NYC and the cold blast of air hit me. It’ll be months before I see a beach around here again. It didn’t take long to be reminded that we were right back in the thick of the hustle, bustle, and grind. We stepped into the terminal and saw rows and rows of people on their phones and IPads as far as the eye could see. All the airport billboards and advertisements said Work Hard, Conference Rooms Available, Find Your Happy Place (referring to faster internet speeds). Crowds of people rushing by. $140 Uber, people yelling obscenities from cars, traffic for miles, ordering dinner on my GrubHub app during my ride home.

I’m a born and raised Long Islander. I lived in NYC for a time. These things weren’t upsetting in and of themselves. The issue was the sharp contrast it presented with a decision I thought we had made.

While we were in Puerto Rico, we came up with the bright idea that living there would be great. We could sell all our belongings and downsize to a simple life in Isabela, walking distance from the beach. We’d save money on all the things we spend money on in our New Jersey lifestyle because we just wouldn’t need any of it to be happy. We’d simply build our businesses and flow from that happy relaxed place, away from the noise.

This idea became so real to me that I was planning and declaring it, looking forward to coming back home to start the downsizing process. Christian Cuevas’s, “To Worship You I Live” became my anthem.

Then on the plane, it hit me.  That is a pipe dream.

I’m an orphan. There is no one on earth besides my husband and children that really cares where I live or go. On the other hand, there’s Pierre’s mom. We’re all she has in this world. I could never take her only son and grandchildren away from her.

Then there’s the planning. Moving to PR would be a logistical nightmare. Sell all our things for pennies on the dollar, then buy all new things in PR? Get Pierre’s job to transfer him with equal pay? Rent our house out to strangers while we pay two mortgages? It was a ridiculous thought. Stupid. Yet I wanted it so bad that I convinced myself we’d be better off financially. I convinced myself, my husband, and my children that we were doing this.

It became obvious on that plane that we were not.

So there I was, back in Jersey. Back to the same old same old. I should’ve felt refreshed, renewed, and invigorated, yet I was worse off than before I left. At least before, The American Dream was worth striving for. Now it all seemed utterly pointless, exhausting, and not what I wanted at all.

Thanks, Puerto Rico.

…to be continued.

Read Part II

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