Living the Dream Merida

56 things I’ve learned in my 56 years

Birthdays can be a sobering event, especially for a woman past ’29’. We bemoan the fact that things are slipping, settling and softening, instead of celebrating our hard won freedom. Freedom to be who we really are, without all the angst of our 20s, 30s and 40s, to try something new, even if it embarrasses the hell out of our significant others, to dance like everyone is watching and not give a damn. Don’t get me wrong…I secrectly love that my husband is a little far-sighted, rendering me always 10 years younger in his eyes. And that the Luna/Wattie genes have blessed me with bits I quite like (although the excessive facial hair from my dads side I would willingly give up, oh, and the bunions from my mom).
When it comes to our ‘self’, we all have things we love, hate, battle. We also have a massive capacity to accept what we cannot change (I will never have curly hair) and change what we can (less wine, more yoga). So in homage to my 56 years, here are 56 (and counting), things I’ve learned about myself, in no particular order:
  1. I do not have fat legs
  2. I am better at cooking than I am at baking
  3. I hate working out
  4. I get crabby when I’m anxious and anxious when I’m crabby
  5. Getting a dog at 52 was the 2nd best decision I ever made
  6. Gardening is a great workout and I love getting hot, sweaty and dirty (can I say that in a blog?)
  7. Too much clutter makes me twitchy, and crabby
  8. My sisters are my best friends
  9. My best friends are my sisters
  10. I have an obsessive need to help others with their oxygen mask before I put on my own
  11. I love to write
  12. I hate, HATE, cleaning toilets
  13. I love, LOVE having a muchacha who doesn’t seem to mind cleaning my toilet
  14. My dad thinks I’m a ‘warm fuzzy’ and I finally believe him
  15. Getting cancer was not a gift but it was a catalyst for some pretty great stuff
  16. My mom thinks I consume too much wine and she is right
  17. I hate that I have to drink too much wine to get up and dance
  18. When I get overwhelmed, I do not negotiate well for myself
  19. I am an excellent negotiator for others
  20. It took me 20+ years to notice how blue my moms eyes are
  21. I have regrets, but I hope I’ve learned from them
  22. I will never be a vegan
  23. I love cooking for my vegan friends
  24. I would rather be too hot than too cold
  25. I pretend to like Radiohead but I really just like Thom Yorke
  26. Mashed potatoes and gravy, mmmmmmmmm
  27. Getting a perm does not make me look like I have naturally curly hair, it just makes me look like I have a perm
  28. I look pretty cute bald
  29. I love swimming if the water isn’t too cold
  30. I must have been a glum child because I distinctly remember people telling me all the time to smile
  31. My smile is my best feature
  32. I’m really scared of bears, and sharks
  33. I fall hard for the creative brooding types
  34. I think I’ve gotten more interesting with age
  35. I am not as strong as I thought I was
  36. I like gliding in the slipstream of my extroverted friends
  37. I love reading the newspaper, the real newspaper, not the online kind
  38. I’m pretty good at building creative things
  39. Coffee is almost as good as wine
  40. Learning something new is the key to happiness
  41. Emmylou Harris, Joni Mitchell and kd lang make me cry
  42. I can’t really sing very well
  43. I get depressed when its grey outside
  44. I can eat my bodily weight in fresh crab
  45. Ditto for sushi
  46. Moving to Mexico was way harder on me than I thought it would be
  47. Not going to art school in Paris was one of my regrets
  48. Not applying to go to art school in Paris was an even bigger one
  49. I’ve met the coolest people in the last 10 years of my life
  50. I am way stronger than I think I am
  51. Always have a room of your own
  52. I need structure as much as I need spontaneity
  53. I don’t know everything
  54. I don’t like being bossed around
  55. Saying ‘I love you’ on a regular basis does not cause one to get hit by lightning
  56. Making a new life in Mexico with my husband and my dog was the #1 best decision I ever made

In October 2012, I drove 6,800 kms with my artist husband, Ric Kokotovich (, and my dog Iggy, to spend 6 months in our adopted city of Merida. Leaving the fast paced world of Calgary behind, I packed my books, art and entrepreneurial spirit, and set off to explore what lay beyond the borders that had become my life. In October 2013 we hit the road south again, hoping to find out what ‘living the dream’ really means. This is my adventure.

15 comments on “56 things I’ve learned in my 56 years

  1. Beautifully said Alison. I’ve always really liked you but after reading this I have to tell you that
    I really love you! You are beautiful!

    • Well, how I can I possibly not ‘approve’ this comment lol. Here’s to the great discovery that is life, my friend. and thanks for reading and being so supportive xo

      • lol.. you’ve not only made me rethink a few things but you’ve made me appreciate the things I sometimes judge about myself.

      • We can be our own worst critics, can’t we? I write for myself but in doing so, I find I am sometimes a thought bubble for others which is kinda cool – que chevere!

      • Lynne Swenson

        I am a good friend of Debby’s, and she shared this with me. I truly enjoyed it! … thx! (& being a woman of 52 years, I can definitely relate to many of your ‘learnings’! 🙂 On another note, I have been to the Yucatan many times, but to Merida only twice … & I loved it! Hope to visit again, one day soon.

      • Thanks Lynne! There is always a cool refresco for a mutual friend at Casa KokoAli in Merida, Deb has our coordinates 🙂
        And the yoga here is wonderful – we don’t pay extra for the ‘heat’ lol.

  2. Love it Ali! Can I pass it on to my souls sisters! I could have written many of them too, can relate! Boosita

  3. SO fantastic. Happy birthday dear friend.

  4. Diane Brown

    Wow! Didn’t take you long to think of 56 things-not bad for an ‘old gal’!

  5. I absolutely loved this post – my mom and I were speaking about it over skype this morning. So much love to you in Merida – Thanks for the share.

    • One of the best things about writing, for me, is to see how my own new found insights nudge others to think about their own. Nos vemos en augusto amigas!

  6. Alison,
    I got into to bed early tonight. I was going to curl up with a book by one of my favourite Buddhist monks, or chew on a few Mary Oliver poems but instead I had an email from Connie that I had not opened. I read your piece on Iggy and have not stopped reading. You are a precious soul and I just love getting to looking into you world. Thank you so much for sharing! Please let me know when you come into to town for a visit.
    Big hugs to you, rick and Iggy.
    Christine, snorring Miguel and snorring dreaming Jack.

    • What a wonderful surprise! I am so glad you found me and am thrilled that my stories have touched you in some small way. And now I have your correct email address😊 big hugs to Miguel and Jack…I have 2 snorers too, and I love them xo

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