The Perfect Storm

Waiting for The Perfect Storm to let up…

This post may be too much information for some; I actually thought it would be a journal entry. But for reasons I can’t explain, I feel the need to share.

At 3:30 a.m., I woke up to the sound of rain. More rain, I thought. For a few moments, I stayed put and tried to sort out my emotions. It didn’t take long for me to identify the one whimpering for my undivided attention … emptiness …

It seems that my world has somehow escaped from my grasp and what has taken its place is scary. I did not want to get up. Better to stay in bed. But by 4 o’clock, I felt sure I’d not be able to sleep any more, so I moved over to the computer. I could see my fingers moving desultorily over the keys, so I knew I was physically present in the room. But my mind was not.

In fact, my mind had decided to go “on strike” and it summoned my stubbornness. That in turn summoned my pride. Then my pride summoned my sense of outrage, and I could feel my anger growing and growing. I feel so much anger towards the chain of events and circumstances … “the perfect storm” that has taken over my life.

The perfect storm is destroying the life I have known up until now. I can’t say what I had was perfect, but it was the life I built for myself. Each time I faced a challenge … each time I forced myself to do the “right thing”… each time I fuelled myself with patience, understanding or empathy … I strengthened my life and my world … I made “me” stronger.

But now, all that energy seems depleted and I feel like a deflated balloon.

I decided to make a coffee and it felt comforting as it slid down my throat, washing away my swampy morning mouth. The slightly metallic aftertaste is not offensive and it is familiar.

I can hear Jorge stirring. He always senses when I’ve given up the idea of sleeping any longer, and lunges out from under the covers to look for me. I bless him for this because I know his first thought every morning is of me. The familiar is my proverbial yardstick, and today it seems to be the glue that is keeping me from falling apart.

Depression. Is this the name of the dark fog that has settled into me? Freudian therapists believe that depression is anger turned inward. I think this is true.  When I feel unable to cope, I tend to blame myself and then try to “whip myself into shape”. But there are times when the honest truth is quite different. There are situations that are more difficult than I can cope with. I did not create the instability we live with constantly in Mexico. I did not bring the Narcos, Corruption, nor the Coronavirus to this country. Nor is the looming financial disaster my doing. I have been avoiding newspapers lately so the torrential rain arrived without much warning at all. None the less, I have to find the resources to deal with the perfect storm …

The anger I try to stamp out cuts my feet like sharp barbs.  None of this is my fault, I wail.

Most of the women I know who came to Mexico several decades ago will say they are glad they have lived here and that they had “different” experiences. I know that as sad as I am,  I am still happy this is my home. Jorge and I raised two great kids, and we built a college that made a difference in many people’s lives. We have acted with responsibility and high standards. We made friends from all over the world. We invested and saved money, and we thought we were sitting pretty for retirement. Well, think again Bubba…

The perfect storm has turned everything upside down. Our two adult children will be living abroad, Like most businesses in Mexico, our college is in a precarious position. We can’t even see our friends, and it looks as though this will go on for a long time. And that money we saved? Well it won’t be providing the easy life style we thought we’d get pleasure from in our “golden years”, it will be used for damage control.

I think I am justified in feeling anger and frustration. BUT, BUT, BUT my negative feelings will not help me. Only my attitude can turn this around for me.

If I bang my head against the wall, it will shatter before the wall breaks.

An attitude of gratitude will make me realise what I do have

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

This mess is not fair. It is not right. And you know what; sometimes we don’t get either fair or right. We just don’t. But Jorge and I agree the time has come for us to accept the things we cannot change. We are facing a challenge that we feel unequipped to deal with. In fact, we are totally daunted by it. This will definitely NOT be… “Magic Made in Mexico”.

However, Jorge and I have no choice but pull together and make the best of this perfect storm. And if we manage to crawl up on the other side, THAT will be called… “A Bloody Battle, Fought As-Well-As Possible, by Joanna and Jorge”.

Published by Changes in our Lives

I am originally from Canada but have lived in Mexico since 1976. My husband is from Merida, Yucatan and we raised our family here. We both worked for many years at Tecnologia Turistica Total (TTT), the tourism, language and multimedia college we founded for local and international students. Now retired, we enjoy spending time with family and friends, My other interests include spending time with freinds, reading, painting, cooking and travel.

12 thoughts on “The Perfect Storm

  1. You will both crawl up the other side, but it will be a long hard-fought battle to get there. Try to deal with just one issue at a time. The others won’t go away, but will have to wait their turn. This will help you cope with the inevitable depression. Try to do one practical thing – not housework – each day, and write down what you did. Maybe bake up a storm and put it out for the hungry to enjoy. Wish I could zap you the 4 kilos of rolled oats that I acquired thanks to last year’s knitting retreat and our house-sitters while we were in Mexico. Just think of all the oatmeal cookies you could make. You really should take up knitting – it would divert some of the frustration.


  2. My dear friends Alice has given us all a good prescription for these times. I would only add that the do one thing each day should be one that brings you joy, be it for others or just for your own self. You will get through this. It will be a different world around us for quite some time, some changes will be good, some not so. Gary & I have been fortunate with finances & health, missing physically being able to hold & hug our kids & grandots & mom And be with friends is the downside or me. But with facetime and skype and messenger video chats at least we can see them all! With much love I think of you often.


  3. Dear Joanna, I read your blog a few times and, please know that if you need to talk things over, I am here… As Alice Trueman stated above, one day at a time, one issue at a time… I am dead serious Joanna. Please, take the time to process all the “necessary losses” (Judith Viorst) you are going through and are definitely causing you so much pain and frustration, so much depression… because, as you and I know, if you do not do so, they will take care of you… in quite unhealthy ways. Here for you! Love you and Jorge!


  4. Dear Joanna — You have every right to feel cheated. I do, too. So does everyone. I know that really doesn’t fix things but you’re doing the right thing by expressing your anger and frustration. To laugh it off or pretend it doesn’t exist, is destructive to your body and soul. — Hang in there. When it is darkest, we can see the stars. Sending much love, many hugs to a very courageous lady. xoxo


    1. Thank you Alex,,, I appreciate your support so much. Having a business anywhere in the world is tricky right now but in Mexico or other countries in the “developing world” it is full blown disaster mode. There are no safety nets… And I wish that my business was my only worry… It will work out eventually… I don’t worry about that but getting through this present is really, really hard. Thank God for friends like you! Your caring helps me more than you’ll ever know..


    1. Thank you for your comment Michele. This disaster is daunting right now but the insecurity about the future is even more difficult. But, this week I have felt better. I think when we actually say the words and express our fear openly, it somehow ceases to have such a firm hold on us.


    1. Thank you for your comment Susan… It seems like a long time ago that we spent that wonderful week at the writers’ conference in San Miguel. We had no major cares or worries… I hopw that feeling will return one day… the sooner, the better.


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