Living in the Present Moment… and Having a 5 Year Plan.

jade swim

Sometimes it’s hard to balance living in the now and having a long-term vision.

I live presently as much as possible—and thanks to years of practice and luck and having made certain choices in my life—I live presently oftenly.


I occasionally feel a peculiar (internal? external? where is it coming from!?) pressure to change my geographical location.

I am happy where I am. We are happy where we are.

I turned into a we here in Guatemala. I, a stressed out school teacher, have evolved into a perpetually blissful and mindful writer and mama here at Lake Atitlan.

Yes, I have bad days. No, I am not enlightened. Not even close. But I am (we are) happy, safe, healthy and grateful for it all.

So, why leave? Well, the kid. Her grandparents and other relatives want closer proximity to our precious Jade. And we want to give them that, and her that. So we may wrench ourselves away from this luscious lagoon, at least for a few years.

But when I actually even contemplate living in Texas (and working in the public school system again), it gives me anxiety. Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico are other viable options. But really, the idea of change, of leaving this magical, beautiful place—even for another magical and beautiful place—freaks me out.

I realize that my attachment to Guatemala, and Lago Atitlan in particular, may not be altogether Buddhist or healthy. But I just can’t see leaving.

And of course, I’m here now. Living mindfully. Joyfully.

My quality of life is sky high. I have so many of the things I want around me: nature in the form of a large body of water, trees, flowers (so many flowers!), cliffs, hills, volcanoes; love in the form of my husband and daughter (I do miss my family and friends back home); freedom in the form of being able to walk or bike most everywhere, being able to buy fresh, inexpensive food at the market, being privileged and able to afford luxurious imported foods like tofu and almond milk.

I have become more and more a country mouse as I’ve aged. No more city living for me, gracias! To visit the city, spend a few days there, is fine. But to live? I need quiet. I need scenery. I need space. I need nature. I need calm. I need to be in the country.

But the Texas Hill Country? With my Colombian husband and Guatemalan daughter? Driving cars everywhere and shopping at supermarkets? I’m not too keen on that idea at the moment.

Ah. Back to the moment. I breathe in deeply. I sigh. I let go of my worries and five-year plans. I listen to the birds chirp.

The plans can wait. I am blessed to be here in this present.

Published by yogafreedom

Michelle Margaret Fajkus is a yoga teacher and freelance writer, editor and translator, as well as the creator of Yoga Freedom. She is a 30-something gringa Gemini in Guatemala where she lives with her family. Michelle learned yoga from a book at age 12 and found zen in California at 23. A native of Austin, Texas, she enjoys reading, writing, hiking, swimming and lounging in hammocks.

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