In his daily life, he pays $24 per hour for a non-English speaking nanny, he commutes several hours each way to a job at a start-up whose future is uncertain, and he can only dream of one day owning a condo because real estate prices are ridiculous. He’s too busy working and commuting to go to the grocery store, he never has enough time for the gym, and he can only dream of true relaxation. He ends the article by saying it was a beautiful drive home in paradise.
I had to laugh ... not a polite chuckle but a holding-my-belly-until-tears-roll-down-my-face type of laugh. Yes, it was that funny.
California is beautiful but the intensity of life in the Bay Area is insane. Paradise is more than just a pretty sunset; it’s a way of life.
I should know. As a former Californian, I moved to Panama because I wanted to live in Paradise. Notice I didn’t say I wanted to be in Paradise. Living is about quality of life, not just longitude and latitude.
Let me give you an example. As I write this, I am currently sitting in 75-degree weather on the balcony of my luxury condo, watching a container ship as it glides into the mouth of the Panama Canal. My husband is in the hammock next to me, swinging lazily in the breeze. When I look up from my laptop, the vivid greens of the jungle contrast with the sparkling blues of the ocean. I can hear hundreds of birds singing in the jungle canopy, and I can now distinguish the difference between parrots and toucans.
I have a sense of urgency as I type because I have an important appointment—a rendezvous with the ocean before the tide goes out.
After my daily swim, I’ll pay $35—per day, not per hour—for my maid to cook, clean and wash. Later, rather than going to the grocery store, I’ll get in my Mercedes E350 that I paid $14,000 for (and another $200 per year in car insurance), and I’ll drive to the local market where I’ll buy fresh fruit, veggies and fish for nothing more than pocket change. At some point today, I’ll walk to one of two gyms where I live and catch up on my Netflix as I tone my muscles and clear my mind. Then this evening, we’ll meet friends for a drink. We've been invited for cocktails by our French friends. Yesterday was our Brazilian friends, and tomorrow will be our Belgium friends.
Yesterday, I met with an investor client who is younger than I am. He made a comment about how young I am to be doing the job that I do. I kept a straight face while inside I was rolling on the floor laughing. My age is a closely guarded secret, but many people think I’m a decade or more younger than my birth certificate says. It hasn’t always been this way. My youthful face is a gift from Panama. After all, why should I turn fifty when I can stay thirty-five?
Am I spoiled? You bet. But let's be clear. I didn't inherit my life or win it in a lottery. Living in Paradise was a conscious decision. I wanted a better quality of life, and I chose Panama.
The Silicon Valley blogger and I might both live in Paradise, but I’m the only one whose life is idyllic.