All you need to know about Iberian America

Finding a Spark in Sobriety

About 7 days ago, I quit drinking again.

Going to make this last 30 days like the last time I quit drinking for a month some odd time ago.

It was getting a little out of hand.

Especially as I started to feel some uncomfortableness in the side of my body.

Anyway, what have I been doing lately?

Mostly random shit – more productive than before arguably.

Working out again.

Grocery shopping more instead of just buying quick street food outside.

Listening to music.

Messing around with my websites.

And seeing some friends.

However, I got to be honest with you…

I’m bored out of my fucking mind.

When I was drinking, life still had times where it could be boring from time to time.

However, it was much easier to lose track of time.

Get stuck in my own head thinking about shit.

Which wasn’t very healthy for me but still.

Take naps whenever.

And it felt like the days passed by so quickly.

Now?

It feels like I’m on 48 hour days instead of 24.

It was relatively easy for me to stop drinking in the moment.

Just like that.

Granted, it took me a few days of telling myself “tomorrow will be the day!” until I did it finally.

It is all similar to the first time I tried to quit drinking for 30 days.

Enjoy this video by the way that, in part, motivated me to write this.

The First Time

Back a few months ago, I made an effort to quit drinking for 40 days.

When day 30 hit, I felt that was a time to celebrate going for a full 30 days without having a drink.

So I had a drink to celebrate the lack of drinking!

But while I was sober…

I was equally twice as bored than how I normally am.

And it isn’t because of “well, because you can’t drink, you can’t go out with friends” or some shit like that.

You can still do that just fine as most of my friends don’t drink too heavy.

It’s, as I said before, a feeling that your days are twice as long.

Plus, back then, I was still down in the dumps thinking about shit that happened way back.

So quitting drinking didn’t really help that.

Drinking arguably made things nicer when it came to that since it went well with listening to music or watching movies…

And made the days shorter it felt like.

But let’s go back to where I am now.

Escaping the Routine

Today, I got a good comment by a loyal reader named Dazza.

Part of the comment I felt was relevant, to a degree, with what I am writing here.

It’s actually been something I’ve been meaning to write about the last few days but never got around to it.

So it was nice anyway to get a comment to help kick me into gear to write this.

The part of the comment that I am referring to is this sentence from this previous article here:

“Some people crave the dull routine of life, you obviously don’t – nor do I, nor does Larry – sooner or later you break out of that crap and go and look for something that makes it worthwhile to get up in the morning and live your life.”

So there’s a few things to break down in that comment.

The first part is the “some people crave dull routine, you obviously don’t.”

I’d 99% in agreement with this sentence.

First, it is true that most people crave routine.

Second, do I not crave routine?

Well, depends on what you mean by routine.

In practice, I don’t crave routine whatsoever.

In fact, I’d hate it if someone tried imposing a routine on me.

Maybe that is one of the reasons why I like living in Latin America….

Nobody to impose a routine on me!

I’m self-employed and work whatever hours I want.

I go to bed whenever I want.

Wake up whenever I want.

Dictate how I will spend my day entirely by my own decisions.

No boss or nothing.

No major responsibilities.

I remember when I was in middle or high school…

I hated waking up at 7 AM mostly because I had (and still do) major difficulty sleeping until 2 AM more or less.

So I never got a good nights sleep.

If someone tried imposing a routine on me now, if I’m being honest, I’d suck at it.

A large part of it is because, after 4 years now, I'm used to being self-employed and working when I want.

It'd be a weird adjustment working for anyone else again -- especially if it wasn't online work.

I like working for myself.

Like with this website you are reading this article on – I’ve enjoyed writing for it so much that I’ve put out over 660,000 words on over 320 articles in less than a year.

To summarize, you can argue pretty strongly I’m not really into non-flexible routines.

I like to have lots of free time.

Being self-employed allows that.

Which allows me to take more walks outside or do whatever the hell I want.

Having said that…

There is a part of me that romanticises the routine.

Mostly because I’ve never had a solid one when I lived in the US outside of my high school days of waking up at 7 AM.

I left the US at a very young age so I never had the dreaded 9-5.

But it’s really days like this where I’m sober and my days are twice as long…

Where the 9-5 doesn’t seem like a bad idea to me!

It actually sounds wonderful – in theory.

Where I had a set schedule for me to keep my mind preoccupied and where I won’t be bored out of my mind.

Granted, in practice, I don’t think it’d be a good fit.

I strongly prefer being self-employed.

And I’d hate having to wake up at 7 AM again because that’d mean only 4 to 5 hours of sleep or less per night.

Plus, if we are being honest here, I’m talking out of my ass when I say that the 9-5 sounds nice.

I’ve never done a traditional office 9-5 job so what the hell would I know if it is nice or not?

Having said that, it does sound alright to have some type of employment to keep my mind preoccupied.

Not for the money or anything like that.

Being honest, I’d volunteer at a local 7-11 or a Subway or a McDonalds in Mexico City if I could.

If I could have some position where I just walk in whenever I want…

Stand behind the counter taking in orders.

Don’t even need to pay me!

Not one peso.

Just to keep my mind preoccupied so I’m not so god damn bored.

Plus, it’d be funny as hell to see the bewilderment on a Mexican’s face trying to understand my accent taking in his order while also thinking….

“Los gringos estan robando nuestros trabajos?!!? Q vergaaaaaaaaaaaaa”

Just as long as this hypothetical position doesn’t require me to have a routine.

No set hours that I have to be in.

That I can just walk right in whenever I feel like it to play Mr. Burger Flipper or some shit.

It would at least keep me from being bored out of my mind.

So, in that sense, does that mean I value routine?

This is why I say 99% in agreement and not 100% in agreement.

Because it does kinda sound like mental gymnastics in how I'm making the 9-5 sound cool.

Which is ironic since so many people try to escape the 9-5 by moving abroad to be an expat.

Though there is nothing routine about being able to work whatever hours I want and just walking in on a moments notice.

I much prefer my actual self-employment work as a way to support myself than any of those jobs mentioned.

It’s all, as I said, just a way to keep my sober mind from going crazy due to the intense boredom.

Then there is the final ending of that sentence I quoted above that is important here.

Purpose to Waking Up

So the ending of that sentence here:

and look for something that makes it worthwhile to get up in the morning and live your life.”

I’ve written about this before.

In this article here and this one here.

Being sober now, it’s even clearer to me that I really need a purpose in life.

I got no purpose.

Kinda reminds me of this Fight Club quote actually…

“God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place.

Granted, I guess you can argue most of that quote isn’t very relevant to me.

I’m not working a white collar job or really any usual job.

Not buying shit either – my budget is around 600 bucks a month.

And, funny enough, as I said, I kinda romanticise a gig working at Dominos in Mexico City so I can have something to do and not sit around all day.

But the last sentence is as relevant here – “no purpose or place.”

Even though I’ve written before about the importance of purpose while living down here….

So I guess this article really isn’t that original compared to my previous content.

I’ll say it’s hard to find purpose.

Volunteering for free at Dominos a few hours a day wouldn’t really give me purpose.

I’ve thought of what it would be like to make knock up some random Tinder chick.

That’d give me purpose!

Time to raise a kid now!

But that’d be kinda annoying as I don’t really want the responsibilities of raising a kid.

Plus, you can argue knocking up some random Tinder chick just to “give me purpose” doesn’t sound like quite a bright idea.

So that idea is out.

But, as I said in other articles, at least doing something helps.

Like going out with friends more.

Hooking up with more chicks from Tinder.

Even walking outside and writing my observations – something I’ve started doing for a book idea – helps.

It all effectively does the same as volunteering for free at a local Burger King would do – keeping me preoccupied.

I remember on that day when I walked down Insurgentes Sur Avenue as you can read here

And I wasn’t bored!

I was actually a little bit happier than I normally am.

I didn’t think about drinking.

Plus, it brought some spark back into my life.

Like bringing some adventure back into my life.

Doing shit again.

Seeing the craziness of Latin America a little more instead of drinking away depressed inside my apartment all day.

And, in a way, reminded me of why I enjoy this part of the world.

All the fun that comes from simply being outside and enjoying life again.

Maybe, you can argue, that it’s like anything else above and doesn’t really give a purpose…

Though, I guess you can argue on the other hand, learning to enjoy life again is maybe a purpose in of itself.

Well, a purpose to myself to not let myself fall too deeply down the rabbit hole of depression.

On top of that, this website is arguably a purpose that I have because it at least involves something I enjoy.

And creating something that I feel good about.

Which is another reason why I strongly prefer self-employment – feeling pride in shit I create online that makes me income also.

Though, if I could, I’d monetize this website so I could dedicate even more time to it because I do feel it is the closest thing I got to a “purpose.”

Final Thoughts

The last thing I’d like to say as an observation is that, arguably, I have been wasting my life the last 9 months or so.

And it really reflects on the accuracy of the statement that I don’t crave a routine in my life.

Because, as I said, I’d be pretty terrible at trying to comply with a routine set on me by a corporate job or some shit.

But also that the circumstances I am in…

Being self-employed and living abroad….

You know, we all have our demons.

I’ve had mine that have held me back the last 9 or so months…

And of which I’ve had for a long time.

But one of the biggest benefits that come with not having that routine…

While living in any part of the world that you want…

Is really being able to control your life how you want it.

Where you can spend 9 months feeling sorry for yourself drinking away.

To be fair, that was helpful to me as it really allowed some very deep and arguably dark reflection.

But I feel ready to move on.

And I can make that decision.

I have control over my life without a set routine telling me when it is time to move on.

No boss forcing my hand and telling me to get back to work when I want more time to myself.

And when that chapter is finished…

I can enjoy life again when ready.

Go outside and take those 5 hour walks exploring the city.

Meeting new people.

Doing crazy shit like fucking a Dominican chick in a public bathroom

Or climbing a mountain

Or exploring the Amazon Rainforest 

Or just going outside and meeting new people at different clubs and having a great time.

I remember all of those moments.

And how much fun I had.

And they were possible, in large part, because of the lack of routine I’ve had in life.

That is arguably one of the greatest benefits to living in Latin America while being self-employed.

To have more control of your life right now.

That’s all I got to say on the matter right now.

At the end of the day, I appreciate the comment I got.

Was something to get me thinking and finally write this article.

Some good self-reflection.

And much more an update on my life as it is right now being sober again.

Got any comments yourself?

Drop them below.

And follow my Twitter here.

Enjoy the final song in the end -- kinda relevant as it is about purpose in life and all.

Thanks for reading. 

Best regards,

Matt

2 comments

Dazza - May 18, 2021 Reply

We all succumb to a routine, even if it is shaving, washing, showering, brushing your teeth, food shopping etc – there are micro-routines we all have to do to stay a respectable person in society – I suppose I should have gone a bit deeper regards the routine I was talking about (and Larry Pitman also..) of the routine of the known and what you have always known – which is what you have left but now you are in DF, you have routines you have to abide to I am sure. Nothing wrong with that particularly but at least you can make most of your own decisions regards your routine instead of them being forced upon you.

I think a good idea is get an English teaching job in the evening teaching adults – I bet there are hundreds if not thousands of schools in Mexico City where you can teach English for a couple of nights a week, go in one of them and tell them you are free at night and you want to teach adults – make up some CV about teaching in Guatemala or Colombia – and I am not saying ‘become an English teacher’ but if you can get a job teaching conversation English for a couple of nights a week, your students will mostly be young women at university or working in some classy job where they need English – you can have a laugh, have fun, meet new people, make friends and earn a bit of cash and it gets you out of the house where you have to have a shit/shower/shave – put some nice cologne on and a freshly ironed shirt and head out to meet your students.

You are probably right that something of a routine to get you out of the house will do you the world of good, going back to Larry Pitman’s blog – he is 86 and still teaching business English in Lima! Even though it has a bad rep in the expat world, it is a rather enjoyable way of making a living and meeting new people.

    Matt - May 18, 2021 Reply

    Yeah, micro routines and all. Granted, get drunk enough often enough and some of those get washed away also temporarily. Granted, in that case, drinking becomes a little routine in of itself. So there we go, routine stays alive.

    And then “routine of the known.” Without question, that is one reason why some folks never leave their home. It’s what you’ve always known. It’s also one of the reasons for why I haven’t left DF yet to experience the rest of Latin America again. I’m comfortable here!

    I get you don’t mean necessarily be an English teacher but I have had thoughts on that.

    I don’t think I’d want an English teaching job though. Well, not the job part. If I could volunteer to teach English without strict hours forced on me, that’d be fine. Kinda like the volunteering at McDonalds in Mexico City idea. Just something to do in my free time that lets me meet people and doesn’t require any real commitment in time. I show up when I want.

    In that case, I’m pretty confident I could do that alone easy enough. Just go onto some random Facebook group for Mexicans in Mexico City and post something saying “giving free lessons in English.” Or maybe I would charge them a tiny bit — like 10 bucks for a month’s worth of sessions so that way they can cover my black tea expenses each month. Or whatever really. Free or not, I know I could get plenty of folks writing me up.

    Doing an actual English teaching job would be difficult also for other reasons. One of them being that sometimes I get really busy with my online work and don’t have time to dedicate 40 hours to another job down here. Plus, I think of all of the upper class Latinos who want to learn English all the time and having to teach them — that’d be annoying.

    Also, I have no idea how I could teach English. Funny enough, I think I’d have a better idea on how to teach Spanish than English. But that’s because I’ve gone through the grammar lessons like 10 times literally so I know Spanish lessons like the back of my hand on what they cover in Spanish class. But English? Well, I’d have to learn how they do it. For example, in Spanish, you have the AR/ER/IR verbs in grammar. We don’t have that in English. What would I cover grammatically and when? I have no idea.

    But, if I didn’t have my online work to do, English teaching doesn’t seem like a bad idea. I never knew other expats looked down on it. Granted, I don’t know too many other expats. In China especially, I always figured it was a great job to have given I’ve heard you guys get paid well over there. I know a Mexican-American guy who teaches English in China. He moved there because he met some Chinese chick in Iowa many years ago and married her. He seems to do alright financially.

    In Latin America? Honestly, I don’t know how much it pays. I always assumed it was crap money like 500 bucks a month. Given some of the locals I know who have professional jobs being computer programmers or aspiring doctors only making 1,000 to 2,000 a month, I never imagined teaching English here would pay much. Granted, if I were to take English teaching seriously as an actual career, I’d have to aim for private schools or else I wouldn’t bother. So English teaching certificate, maybe a Masters, etc.

    Either way, it’s not something as a job I would do but something to volunteer seems like a good idea just to get me out of the house more.

    On that note, I’ve thought also of maybe hiking mountains again. I joined some mountain hiking group for those in Mexico so you can probably expect some articles on hiking mountains soon enough.

    Stuff like that I feel is probably better for me — simple clubs to join (could be foreign language clubs like teaching English). At least it’ll give me something to do while sober. My only concern with clubs is if they require me to wear a mask. I hate that thing. I sweat my ass off every time I put it on.

    Well, I’m sure continuing my work on that book will also do the trick in giving me something to do. That walk down Insurgentes Sur really gave me perspective as to how much land I have to cover and it was enjoyable.

    Thanks for the comment again.

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