OK, by now – a lot of you know I’m not normal. I’d even go so far as to sometimes say I’m crazy. Or unique. Whatever. No label necessary. I’m cool with how I am and love myself, so that’s all I have to say.
After quitting my job in the States, and moving to Costa Rica to live a more simple life, there were other changes I knew I wanted to make as well. This was the time to do it, right? Some changes were made with a conscious effort, others seemed to happen naturally. And yes – Costa Rica has helped with almost all of these things; however, that’s not to say that moving somewhere else (or staying put) couldn’t help with these things too.
Here are 10 things I’ve cut out of my life since moving to Costa Rica, that have made me a much happier (and sane!) person.
1. GOODBYE RULES! Yes, I have stopped “always having to follow the rules”. Growing up – I always seemed to follow the rules. Always doing things the way they are “normally” done… who says I have to do things the normal way? Now it’s almost a challenge to myself. When I was talking with Greg the other day about something, he said: “Well, the way it’s normally is done is xyz…” And I thought to myself WHOA – why do I have to do it the way it’s normally done? Is there a different (but legal) way to do it? I love this new me. I feel more brave and crazy and adventurous these days, and for me, that is a very good thing.
2. FAREWELL HAIR DRYER and ARTIFICIAL COLORING! I like having long hair. But I don’t always like drying it: it can take a long time, it’s boring, and it uses a lot of electricity. In the States I used a hair dryer every single morning. Just think how many minutes of my life I wasted doing this, not to mention how much electricity. I also used to color my hair, until it started getting “too” blond. I now love my natural, dirty-blond color. Now a-days, I just let my hair air-dry, sometimes sitting in the sun for a bit. I’ll wear it up in a messy bun or ponytail (something I NEVER did since I was in grade school and a neighborhood-bully-girl told me I looked like a boy with my hair up). I have natural waves, so if I’m going somewhere, I touch it up briefly after it’s air-dried with a large-barrel curling iron (which takes all of 3 minutes) and I’m ready to go.
3. SO LONG DEBIT CARDS! We have a bank account here with a debit card/ATM card – but we don’t use it as a debit card. We take out cash at the ATM machine, and use cash for our expenses during the month. I love it! In the States we used a debit card, and I would write every debit item down in our check book to make sure we always balanced with our checking account (see? rule follower). Now – I have an envelope system for the cash, and it works great and saves me tons of time. Bonus: it makes us practice our numbers in Spanish when we have to pay for things in cash.
4. TA-TA NAIL POLISH! In Dallas, I got pedicures every 2 weeks. And yes, my toes looked beautiful (I’ve always thought I had ugly toes), especially in a pair of heeled-sandals. But here? Nail polish is unnecessary – or maybe I’ve just come to love my toes more. I’ve gotten to know my toes pretty intimately. Naked, one could say. My toenails seem so much healthier now, and definitely grow faster. Sure – polish has its place (especially in Dallas, where it is almost unheard of to not have polished toes), but I’m quite happy these days with my naturally naked toes.
5. BYE-BYE TALKING ON THE PHONE! I don’t like talking on the phone. At all. Texting, emailing and instant messaging? Best things ever invented. I mean – it’s so non-invasive and the receiver can get back to you when they want, on their own time. You’re basically never “calling at a bad time” or interrupting someone unnecessarily. One great thing about quitting my job in Dallas (besides not having to sit in a window-less cubicle all day), was no more talking on the phone! My friends know that the best way to get ahold of me is to email or message me. Okay, so there is one person I still answer the phone for – my mom (Mom: if you’re reading this, I hope you feel special. Because you are.).
6. I DON’T MISS YOU ALARM CLOCK! I really don’t miss an alarm clock going off every morning. It’s interesting – in Dallas, we absolutely needed an alarm clock to go off at 5:30/6 in the morning to get up in time for work. It was always dark and it was always a struggle to get up. We never set the alarm in Costa Rica, and I’m always up before 6 am. It’s also light out at about 5:30 am and I always get 8 hours or more of sleep each night, so I’m sure that helps.
7. CIAO NICE JEWELRY! Since I moved to Costa Rica, I’ve traded in my silver jewelry for my arm candy, that I make myself(!) out of waxed thread and cheap (but beautiful) beads. I love my arm candy. I also traded in my silver watch for a sports watch. Of course I still have some special jewelry that Greg gave me – but I just feel more natural here, and never have the urge to wear it.
8. ADIOS DIET COKE! In the States, I drank Diet Coke every day. Probably around 2-3 cans a day, sometimes more. I know, I know – it’s SOOO bad for you. But I was addicted to it, I could never stop drinking it. In Costa Rica they don’t have Diet Coke, but they do have Coca Cola Light (which, OK, is basically the same thing); however, water with lemon is now my go-to hydration source, with a can of Coca Light being a treat every other week or so. No, still not perfect, but much improved.
9. GOODBYE ALWAYS HAVING TO BE DOING SOMETHING! OK – this one, admittedly has been hard for me, and I’m still working on it. I kinda like always having something to do. But sometimes, I make myself go outside and sit in my leather rocking chair with a cup of coffee in the morning – and just – BE. Without any computer, or electronic device. I just go outside and sit. There’s so much to see, you guys! There are parrots and butterflies and squirrels and yes, bugs (let’s not go there), neighbors walking by, and the gorgeous central valley laid out before me… It’s ok to just – BE. It’s good to let your mind wander sometimes. I don’t always have to be doing something. And 9 times out of 10, Greg will come out and join me and we’ll have the best talks. It’s awesome.
10. FAREWELL MAKE UP! Yep – I’ve stopped wearing make up every day. Moisturizer and sunscreen is it on most days. And when I do wear it for special occasions, it’s very minimal. I love being more natural, and so does my pocket-book.
OK, so I know that was 10 things, but I’m on a roll and have a couple more:
11. SO LONG UNNECESSARY YAKING & MINGLING! Yes, I know, most girls just love to hang out and socialize, talk, and yak with each other all day long. But not me. It’s just not how I am. I’m more like my Dad in that regard, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing (Greg definitely thinks it’s a good thing). Now, I pick and choose what I want to do and with whom. I definitely have some good friends who I’m comfortable with and are interested in me for who I am, but I am just not one of those girls that has to be doing stuff with other women every single day – I prefer to be by myself, with Greg, or with close friends.
12. CIAO COACH PURSES AND BAGS! I admit, I still have a slight bag fetish – but now it is more a “$10 cross body bag fetish”, not a “$500 Coach bag fetish.” Which is perfectly fine with me (and Greg). Oh, don’t let these cute guys on the end here distract you from my cool “Pura Vida” cross-body bag made out of an old coffee sack!
So, that’s all I got. But I think that’s enough. My life is full here – but with less “things” to distract me. Life is great.
Pura Vida! — Jen