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Posted by on Sep 16, 2015 in Costa Rica, Retirement, Uncategorized | 23 comments

It’s About Time

It’s About Time

I love music. I love live music. I love my wife.

I do not really like Tim McGraw, but like I said, I love my wife. Because my wife loves many things about Tim McGraw, one of them his music, we had been to at least two McGraw concerts while living in Dallas. It could have been more and I just blocked it out of my memory.

Luckily each concert I remember had a component to it that interested me. The first time we saw McGraw the group that opened for him, an unknown act at the time, Big and Rich, set the bar very high for the night. Tim did not quite match the duo’s energy, in fact one might figure McGraw thought the bar Big and Rich raised was for a game of limbo.

The second time we saw Tim had him sharing the stage with his wife, Faith Hill, so that was interesting.

You might be thinking, “Greg if you don’t care for the tight-jean wearing, bald-spot black-hat covering, non-instrument playing, twirling, McGraw, why do you bring him up?” Great question. There is a song made famous by McGraw, written by someone else, titled Live Like You Were Dying that has been pinging around in my head for the past week The first verse and chorus goes like this:

He said I was in my early forties
With a lot of life before me
When a moment came that stopped me on a dime
I spent most of the next days, looking at the x-rays
Talking bout the options and talking bout sweet time
I asked him when it sank in
That this might really be the real end
How’s it hit ‘cha when you get that kind of news?
Man, what’d ya do?

And he said

I went skydiving
I went rocky mountain climbing
I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I’d been denyin’

And he said, Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dyin’

For the past two and a half years Jen and I have enjoyed living like there is no tomorrow. We aim to continue this trend until, well, until there are no more tomorrows. The funny thing is, even with clear guidance from life experiences, it took a lot to get us out there living.

Jen’s dad died just a few years after she and I got married. He learned he had cancer so retired early at 58 and died just a year later.

This terrible event came early in our married lives, early in the careers we were building. We may have had a brief thought of, “man, life is short,” but if so, there was no recognition that it could apply to us.

As time moved forward Jen and I built careers. Excess money began to increase while available time decreased. The time devoted to work was placated by the ability to afford convenience. This way of life, eating out just about every meal, drinking more than was healthy, working 10 – 14 hour days and then worrying over work once home, was taking a toll on my health. As my weight ballooned so did the dosage of my blood pressure medication. My normal, unflinchingly jovial, personality now snapped easily.

I would love to say that we decided to downsize, move, and live differently on our own, but that just isn’t the case. My career was the catalyst, it was in decline. I was managing a company whose product was becoming obsolete and I had spent my entire career honing skills necessary to run this industry in decline. While other divisions within the company were thriving I had not positioned myself to take advantage of potential opportunities. Instead, I was like the captain of a sinking ship. I still needed to manage the ship, all the while crew members were drowning and not being replaced. I was doing more with less all the while my pay was plummeting along with the ship.

NOW, that got my attention. Now my thought was, “I just can’t go on like this” and “honey, it’s time for a change.” Looking back with the goggles of hindsight I can see that if my career was still on the rise we would most likely still be living an upscale, high blood pressure lifestyle.

Regardless, we were going to make a change and after dismissing other “move on” options we chose to move to Central America. Punctuating our decision with an exclamation mark was a death that happened after our decision to move, but still a year before winding down our careers and doing it. My cousin’s husband, barely older than Jen and I and seemingly healthy, went into the hospital not feeling well and never came out. The couple had just had their first baby, a son.

Since moving here, I have lost and kept off 40 extra pounds, I have eliminated the need for blood pressure medication, I stopped a 20 year long tobacco habit, and I now have access to the commodity that makes living life to the fullest possible – time. I used to think that commodity was money, and of course a bit of that is necessary, but before, I had plenty of the stuff and didn’t have the time to enjoy it.

When we first moved here I gave Costa Rica credit for all of the new positives in my life. Costa Rica is beautiful and the weather where we live is unrivaled. That being said, Costa Rica is not the reason I lost weight, wrote a book, became healthier, or any of the other positives I have experienced while living here. The credit should go to time, having the time to do those things that make life better, time to follow your passions, time to live like you are dying.

I might not be a fan of Tim McGraw, but I am a fan of overused, clichéd, motivational quotes:

In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
~Abraham Lincoln

For those McGraw fans out there I apologize for the bashing, but here is one more dig. The video below is the song McGraw made famous played and sung by one of its co-writers (Craig Wiseman). I think it is much more emotional than McGraw’s version and has a nice little introduction… Ok, I will stop with the Tim bashing now 🙂

Hasta Pronto,

Greg

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Gregorio

Greg Seymour is a quitter. At 41 Greg and his wife Jen quit their jobs, sold damn near everything they owned and became Intentionally Unemployed and retired early to Costa Rica.
In addition to writing on this blog, Greg has written for other online publications and has written two popular books about living in Costa Rica:
Greg Seymour Amazon Author Page

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23 Comments

  1. Greg good post. I still do not see why people work for material things instead of working for a better quality of life.

    btw how about that cuban rum testing and a nice Habano to accompany it soon”

    • Thanks Pedro! Yes on the rum…. need to hunt down some more Habanos as I smoked through the ones I had 🙂

  2. Good stuff… Just curious what music you do like and do you ever have the opportunity to listen to live music there. We attend concerts regularly and I think that is something we will miss the most. We usually go to the smaller venues to check out some of the more obscure bands we like. I wouldn’t be caught dead at a Tim McGraw concert but to each his own.

    • Haha – I agree about McGraw, but like I said… I love my wife. Live music was a huge part of our lives in Dallas. Dallas has a ton of venues and we saw everyone from Pavarotti to Ray Davies. We mostly liked seeing the older classic rock bands come through – we saw Crosby with Nash, Jackson Browne, Zappa’a son playing all his dad’d music, etc. In addition to classic rock we liked to see some of the new Indy Rock folks – Brett Dennin, Josh Ritter, Eels.. etc.

      There are two things I miss here – craft beer, which is actually getting to be more prevalent, and great, easily accessible music. There is local talent but it is not consistent and while I like the blues, it seems to be the genre most played.

  3. Brilliantly written….your writings/musings get better and better as ‘time’ goes by.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • I appreciate the words… thanks for continuing to read!

  4. Wow! Sounds like my life story except that I realized it later in life than you did. I was on the same path but no more! Thanks for the reinforcement that we’re doing the right thing!!

    • Hi Dan! Yes, the stars and moon aligned to tell me… “dude, time to do something else.” I don’t think I could have figured it out on my own without some help from my situation. But man, I am happy now that my career was going into the crapper! Because of this, Jen and I got to start living – a lot faster than most people – and retired in our early 40’s. What a great move.

      Best of luck to you and Cindy in your new adventure.

  5. Love your writing! Beautiful hindsight reflection and such a meaningful fully alive now and going forward perspective. I love the song and this artist does sing it beautifully BUUUUT- Tim is so much cuter!

    • Glad you liked the article… sorry I did not post a video to Tim’s butt. Hahahaha.

  6. Enjoy your blog. We too are calling it “quits” in 7 months. Moving to San Pedro, Belize. We’re not waiting to collect “full benefits” from Social Security. In good health at age 61. Selling everything. Living simple without any “stuff” has been our 3-year plan. The Finish Line is so close!

    • Best of luck to you. Stuff is over-rated! Have fun instead.

  7. Enjoyed your story and thanks for sharing the video. Great energy.

    • Thanks for reading, listening, and commenting!

  8. Hi Greg,

    Like Irma and the others, I like your writings so much too… Thank you for the time and endeavor that you spend. I am waiting new writings with impatience…

    Thanks again,

    • Well…. I need to write faster, lol. I appreciate your kind words, they are very motivating.

  9. Loved this article Greg. It is beautifully written and very heartfelt. You could also give the credit for all of the positive changes to your life to the choice you and Jen made to step off the merry-go-round. So many people never summon the courage to make that choice, or they wait too long and health or other issues prevent it later. Bravo.

    • Thanks Gloria. You are absolutely right. Changing our lifestyle and living more simply certainly gets credit. We are very pleased with our new life and the result of our choices… regardless of the reasons behind those choices.

  10. Hi, Greg,

    GREAT post!

    Interestingly, I have a whole chapter in Reality Check about how most of the marvelous changes attributed to Costa Rica are changes that are actually *possible* anywhere, but isn’t it funny how huge life changes (like losing weight, being healthier, doing things you care about) seem easier when you make a huge life change like quitting your job and moving to a foreign country! 😉

    One thing we’ve found interesting is that for many of the folks who eventually move back, their years in CR where they made all those changes have helped them continue to live simpler, healthier lives even once back in the states.

    And yes, isn’t it amazing what TIME can offer. Time to do the things that matter most to you!

    As always, I continue to enjoy your writings!

    saludos,
    –arden–

    • Thanks Arden! I think the the change of venue really helped up. But like you said, I think we can take this new-learned skill with us where ever life might take us.

      I am really looking forward to reading your book when it comes out.

      Greg

  11. Greg- found your blog from “2 Weeks in Costa Rica”. I was reading the article on what to bring to Costa Rica- Advice from Expats. Noticed you reside in the Central Valley region. My wife (Diane) and I will be flying into San Jose 4/1 for our first Costa Rica trip. We have rented an apartment in San Ramon and was hoping we could get together sometime before we leave on 4/11. Diane recently retired and we are hoping to retire me by 12/31/16. Costa Rica and Panama are on our retirement destinations. Would love to share some stories over lunch or coffee- let us know if that would be possible? Muchas gracias- Dave & Diane

    • Hi Dave,

      Shoot me an email (costaricacurious@icloud.com) as your trip gets a bit closer. We are never sure what our schedule is from one week to the next. If it works out we would love to meet up. Best of luck as you guys check things out. Keep in touch and let me know if I can help with any questions.

      Greg

  12. Great article- I agree with all of the above. That is why I am hoping to retire out of “Corporate America” and live Pura Vida. Dave M.

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