Living in Costa Rica for six months was a unique experience. The country is completely different from the US and especially my home state of California. The lifestyle is different, priorities are different, and culture is different. Where people are constantly busy working and filling every bit of spare time with an activity in California, I found that to be in stark juxtaposition to the relaxed and unhurried life of Costa Rica. Instead families are close, there is plenty of time to enjoy the slow pace of life, and most importantly – the saying of “pura vida” is truly embraced.
As I ponder the life I led in Costa Rica and the effects it undoubtably had on me, I would like to take this time to share three important lessons I learned.
- How to live with less and actually be happy for it. In Costa Rica there are beaches, jungles, volcanoes, and wildlife. What there is not is online shopping, shopping malls, the latest trends, or access to any little thing you think you want. Being away from the temptation of stuff, away from materialism and consumerism was liberating. I felt free from the constant want of things allowing myself to embrace a full life with less.
- Life is enjoying the simple pleasures. With all the noise of a busy life shed away, I was left with the tranquility of nature. The beauty of the forests and beaches, the sounds of wildlife fully alive and thriving, and the peace of not needing to be somewhere. Without all the clamor of city life, the pull of technology, and the constant movement of traffic I was able to cherish the simple aspects of life. I was able to truly appreciate nature and our place within it.
- Living in the moment. Without the distraction of media in all its many forms, the constant chatter of the world melted away. From there I learned to reconnect with the moment. To let my thoughts rein back in from constantly living in the future. To embrace each day a new.
Those lessons I now hold dear as I slip back into my life in California. I will always cherish my time in Costa Rica and how it has made me grow as a person. Even though I still feel the same, I know that there are some aspects of myself irreversibly changed and in my opinion it is for the better.