From The Publisher – June 2020


II fantasize about moving to Belize.

I want to get my kids graduated in a few years, I want to sell everything I own (save for a luggage bag) and I want to dip my toes in the Caribbean by nightfall. I want to get some sort of remote nomad type job, grab a $300 per month little condo (of which there are many down there) and I want to hang out at the cantina on steamy afternoons and chat with the locals. I want to take long walks in the evening barefoot along the beach, listening to the beach, and want to read a book by moonlight from my balcony. I just want to leave it all behind, wipe the slate clean on my life, and start afresh. It’s a strong desire, I’ll tell you that.

Basically, I’ve imagined it to be my own personal version of heaven.

I suppose the issue is that I’ve never been to Belize. I don’t know anything about it other than what I’ve read or seen online. I have pictured it as an idyllic paradise of white beaches and azure green waters and smiling people. The reality is that I’ve read there are some pretty sketchy areas of Belize and there’s some corruption and that locals can haze newcomers.

But I just ignore all that bad stuff. I have decided that Belize will bring a tear to my eye with its beauty and I will carve out a great little existence in that sliver of the world, so that is the truth I live in. That is what I want to be truth, so I brush aside the bad and only process the good.

I have determined my own reality, even if maybe it doesn’t all check out.

But is that so bad?

I’ve bumped into a few folks that have actually lived in Belize, and they’ve told me both the good and the bad from their first hand knowledge of the area, and done so in an attempt to more properly educate me on the area. They tell me about the bad areas and I just think “Then I will stay away from that area” or they tell me how some people are miserably awful to deal with and I think “Then those people don’t get to hang with me.” On and on. They mean well to educate me, but nothing so far has deterred me from my belief that Belize was created simply so that Ben Schooley could move there someday soon and live out his days catching colorful fish for dinner and sipping some sort of weird Caribbean beer while barefoot. And I figure I’ll be particularly popular with my kids as they load up their friends and someday families to come visit their weird dad and enjoy a free Caribbean vacation at my house.

What’s my point to all this? You don’t care that I fantasize about Belize, so why am I wasting the space to tell you about it?

The answer is that the pursuit of our personal version of truth is something I find interesting, have dealt with it personally of late, and has been one of those difficult lessons that that cruel teacher, LIFE, has taught me.

What’s truth? What’s not? What’s reality? What is your own stubborn illogical perspective? The answers to these aren’t always  clear to you, even if they are clear the person next to you. They are unclear because you come into the equation with your own set of biases that influence what you view to be TRUTH. Someone has visited Belize on a cruise one summer and has an opinion on the area, and then I show up spouting off about how it’s heaven on earth. They say “Yeah, not so much” but, in reality, it’s because they don’t want to live there. They want to retire to Santa Fe, where I have been, and I think is over-rated. But they think it’s perfect.

Round and round we go. Everyone has their mind up before we even start.

While our retirement locations are one topic to discuss, I have found that we drag these biases into countless arenas of our lives, and I find it infinitely fascinating.

Is your relationship going to survive?

Are you in the right career?

Is your spouse cheating on you?

Are your kids on drugs?

Is your friend going to betray you?

Each question has an answer and a conclusion, but oftentimes we determine the very answer ourselves by our own preconceived answers. The odds of your relationship surviving are pretty damn poor if you walk into the situation saying “Aw man – this is never going to work out.” At the same time, your odds increase exponentially when you enter with “I have faith that this will work out!” The shift in attitude creates a completely different outcome. Even if you dislike your job and want to move on, consequences are large when you show up each day thinking “Geez, I’m miserable. This sucks” as opposed to “At least I have a job. The right one will show up soon!” One leads to your boss firing you and one leads to you landing your dream job at just the right time.

I could go on and on. The truth is what it is and the truth will always reveal itself. At the same time, we can often create our own truth based on what we seek to find. Maybe Belize really is a dump – but I guarantee you that it will take a hell of a lot to convince me of that as my attitude has decided that to be untrue. I will seek only the beauty, I will ignore the ugly, and I will fight endlessly to be proven right about my dream location. Maybe you visit it and hate it, but that’s because you will have shown up with a far different attitude than I.

I will find what I seek, same as you.

I’m feeling deep on a Thursday evening, and maybe nobody cares about my silly thoughts on deeper subjects, but I do believe that we have much more control over the outcomes of our lives than we realize, and much of it comes from little more than that which we seek. What’s your pot of gold? Good? Bad?

Trust me, you’ll find it. I hope you search wisely.

Welcome to June. What a few months we’ve just had, huh? As you re-enter the world, may you take a moment to identify your pot of gold, may you chart a course to find it, and may you always find exactly what you seek.

Benjamin D. Schooley