Michael Ashcroft

February 12, 2022

So, now what?

Hello from Oaxaca de Juárez, the capital of the state of Oaxaca in Mexico.

A typical street in the centre of Oaxaca

The last few weeks have been a frenzy of activity.

It was my partner’s last couple of weeks of work before taking a year-long sabbatical. We packed our lives into two suitcases, two backpacks, and everything else into a 35 sq ft room in south London. And then we flew across the world, spent a few busy, tourist style days in Mexico City and finally arrived in Oaxaca yesterday afternoon.

And then, about half an hour ago, the long-awaited moment came. With breakfast eaten and plates cleared away a moment of peace came, within which arose a question.

Now what?

We’re here for five weeks. There’s no rush to see or do anything. We have long, open days ahead of us to carve out some kind of lifestyle before moving elsewhere in Mexico.

I’ve actually been in this city before, but only for two days before getting on an overnight bus to my next destination. I was backpacking from Mexico City to Playa del Carmen, trying to see and experience as much as possible along the way.

That trip, although three weeks long and utterly fantastic in its own way, felt very different from what we're experiencing right now. Rather than three weeks, we have three months. Rather than expecting to go home soon, we will be going somewhere else and doing this again. Rather than taking a break from work and life, this is work and life.

So, indeed, now what?

I decline to answer. I’d much rather let myself be surprised by what comes up if I keep the question alive in my awareness.

What I will say is that there’s something special, sublime even, about the sense of spaciousness that makes it possible even to ask it.

Now what?

That’s not a question you can ask easily, let alone answer, when life is full of noise and stuff and tasks.

Now what?

In place of an answer there is a void.

But what a sonorous, vibrant, full void it is.


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