The American Dream?

Edd:  What do you think our life would be like now if 2008 hadn’t happened–when everything came crashing down? I mean if things had just continued the way they were going.

Cynthia:  I have no idea. Sadly I guess we’d still be working but probably not in Vegas. We knew that wouldn’t be a permanent residence. Why do you ask?

E:  I was just thinking about how great our life is but at the same time how unexpected. Here we are in Cuenca, Ecuador, of all places. Most people couldn’t tell you one thing about Ecuador beyond what continent it’s on. Cuenca–blank stare. There’s absolutely nothing about what’s happened to us that we could have ever anticipated.

C:  OK, 2008 didn’t happen. We still have high-income careers someplace. Two of our three weeks vacation are spent with the kids and grandchildren. The other we do something for us. Our investments are growing to the point that maybe next year we can think about retiring. Does that sound about right?

E:  Yeah. Let’s add to the list that we’d continue to be tired and stressed–we wouldn’t have time to take care of our bodies–and our social life would be, as always, non-existent.

C:  That pretty much covers it, except you can’t ignore the probability of medical issues popping up due to the stressful lifestyle you just described. We were living the “American Dream,” right?

E:  Or so we believed. Framing our lives like we just did begs the question, “What in the hell were we thinking?!?,” doesn’t it?  

C:  We weren’t thinking, Edd. We were blindly following the cultural script that we’d been given our whole lives. Why would we question it? It was working – until it quit working.

E:  It was working financially, but since we moved here we’ve discovered how much it wasn’t working in the quality of life department. About all we did with our waking hours was go to work and do chores and errands. To me that’s the inherent flaw with the “American Dream”–it’s a dream about some elusive tomorrow. But how does tomorrow ever happen when it’s always today?

C:  For all the downside of the “mañana culture” that gringos complain about, living for today is probably the best lesson we’ve learned since our early retirement to Cuenca. Getting back to the description of our imagined life in the U.S., I was saying that we might be thinking about retiring next year. We’ve already been retired for eight years. Can you even comprehend working for at least nine more years from the time we arrived here in 2010?

E:  Oh, hell no. That’s what started this whole conversation. The economic crash in 2008 was horrible, right? We feared our world had come to an end. And yet, maybe against all odds we’ve risen like a phoenix from the ashes to a more incredible life than whatever it was we imagined back then. It just goes to show—something.

C:  Wow, that’s profound.

E:  You think so?

C:  No. But “against all odds” I think you may be right.

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  1. Susan B

    E & C – having the honor of going through the last 8 years with you I can’t agree with you more! Our lives out side of the rate race we were all trained for is so much more interesting and challenging. I have to say that you missed one thjng in your conversation. In the time since the 2008 drama, younhave had more time to love each other and as I watched, you simply fell IN love more and more. So much fun to watch!

    1. Edd & Cynthia

      What a sweet comment, Susan. Even though we’ve spent most of our life as a couple it’s true that the extra time together in retirement has brought us even closer. It’s a blessing we never take for granted, but your observation surprised us because we weren’t aware our love for each other was on such public display!

  2. jerry walker

    Edd & Cynthia, thanks to you two adventurers, Denise and I have the hope of an offshore retirement, and a plan to make it happen . . . in Ecuador! Best to you both, and thank you for your hospitality during our ‘fact-finding’ visit to Cuenca (love a culture that embraces ice cream at a high level!).

    God bless you,

    1. Edd & Cynthia

      We enjoyed your visit and are pleased that you’ll one day join us living abroad, JD. As you discovered, retirement overseas is a blast!

  3. jerry walker

    Edd & Cynthia – thank you adventurous souls for pointing the way to offshore retirement success for Denise and me! Cuenca, Quito, or some Ecuadorian coastal village will be our home one day. That’s exciting stuff. As for Cuenca . . . you have to love a town with such a highly advanced ice cream culture!

    God bless you,

  4. Teresa Drake

    Ed and Cynthia, we can’t you enough for all the information and food for thought you gave jus back in 2016. After much research, looking at various options (other countries), we decided Ecuador was for us and Cuenca was the best of all possible worlds.

    We have been here now for nine months, including one medical emergency requiring surgery and overnight hospital stay, and couldn’t be happier. The “manana” attitude suits us just fine and has taught us to relax and enjoy life instead of getting upset over things we can’t control.

    It certainly has done wonders for you two, you look great! We have gotten to know some wonderful Ecuadorians here, become part of one family, are volunteers at Crea tu Espacio teaching English and involved with ACT. Will be performing in Kitchen Witches next week, hope to see you there.

    A million thanks for all you have done for expats and yourselves. You saved us in more ways than one. God bless and see you around Supermaxi sometime. Oh and our dinner invitation is still open.

  5. Edd & Cynthia

    Such kind words, Teresa. It’s so heartwarming to know that we are making a difference in people’s lives. Congrats to you both for being proactive in choosing a better life for yourselves and for embracing your new culture. We’re still in the States and will miss your performance next week, but look forward to accepting your dinner invitation when we return to Ecuador.

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