I know I made the right decision to move to Belize when I start my day with a warm first light and song birds…instead of a buzzing alarm clock and an icy wind rattling the window.

At first light, the dog and I are strolling along Laguna Seca. The village has yet to start its day, so we share the lagoon with the coots, ibis, and flocks of parakeets. As the sun peeks over the horizon it splashes my pre-dawn world with tropical color and a sparkling lagoon. A wonderful “good morning” to another day in paradise.

I have always been a morning person but in my previous life as an attorney there was quite a difference. I knew my day would be filled with constant interruptions, nearly impossible deadlines, and ridiculous demands. Although I loved being able to help people, my mind and heart never started the day in the right place.

To be greeted by the natural beauty of Belize certainly sets a happier tone for your day.

After our walk it’s time to get my son up for school. He is a freshman in the local high school and he has adjusted quite well.

Breakfast is usually a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice from oranges that came from our neighbor John. We might also have bananas which I pick up at the market—eight for 50 cents. At the market, you can always find reasonably priced fresh pineapple, mango, papaya, and an assortment of vegetables.

Of course I do not have to go to the market to find fresh produce. Around our house are coconut trees, lime trees, and tamarind which the local kids like to eat as a special treat. It tastes like a sour sweet candy. I even manage to grow some cherry tomatoes. The black Mayan soil here is fantastic, anything will grow in it.

The rest of the day is spent how I want. Mostly I enjoy the ability to complete a thought and write without unwanted interruptions. (My interruptions are planned and thoroughly enjoyable.)

They include spending quality time with my family and developing great relationships with friends and the people of my community. Things I rarely was able to do in my life as a lawyer.

Some mornings I go sailing with my friend Gerard on his Hobi-Cat. It’s the perfect boat for Corozal Bay. We race across the bay not governed by bosses but by the wind.

Some days after my son gets home from school, we go to our favorite open air restaurant by the bay. My wife plays darts with friends. I sit at a table with a perfect view of the water, enjoying the breeze, pretending to work, watching my son splash in the water with friends.

Whatever we choose to do, the most important thing is that the choice is ours. Not burdened by obligations, timelines, or hectic schedules. It is this lifestyle of freedom that we have achieved in Belize.