One week from today i’ll be back in Canada after being away for just over 6 months in Costa Rica. My partner and i decided to come to the tropics to see if a different setting could offer us the chance to explore a less-stressful life than we had in Canada.
The plan is that if all is well in Canada, we’ll head back to Costa Rica after a brief visit to finish out the 2 years we’ve given ourselves to see how things work out. Lately i’ve been worried about coming back down because, frankly, i’m getting bored. In the beginning we were busy getting established and exploring different parts of the country – which didn’t lessen the stress, but kept us busy and working towards common goals. Then we had some health challenges that kept us either in bed or focussed on figuring out what to do to get out of bed. Not necessarily the fun we were hoping for but, again, it kept us busy and moving forward – or at least upright lol.
When my kids were little and they complained about being bored i would tell them that only boring people get bored. It was the best motivator i ever used – they both knew then and now how to self-entertain and motivate. We’ve landed in a remote part of Costa Rica that requires that ability and we’ve finally been in one place long enough to feel that sense of ‘sameness’ coming on. A call to the not-boring me is sounding!
I know that for some, this life of no obligations or schedules would be the ultimate freedom, but for many – by all reports – who leave Costa Rica or a place/life like this in under 2 years, it’s often because of the feeling of a lack of purpose. I can absolutely see how that’s a thing, because there’s a twinge of it creeping into my awareness. So yesterday i reminded myself of what’s worked for me in the past when this feeling has crept up. It’s the exact opposite of what works for my partner. We’ve been doing the ‘teamwork makes the dream work’ thing pretty well lately, so i’ve let myself start to depend on the partnership to fill me up, but that simply isn’t going to work. It’s not fair to either of us to ask for the relationship to do what i need to do for myself.
What works best for me is a schedule that keeps me on track on the days when something else doesn’t need to happen. I’m writing this because i want to, but also because i’ve put it in the schedule…Ha, go figure – tada! A sense of purpose leads to a sense of accomplishment which leads to me feeling better about myself which leads to me being a happier team player which leads to me being excited about coming back to Costa Rica.
It took me getting bored to turn to the tried and true strategies that i know work for me. I moved in with my mom for the last 6 months of her life so that my sister and i could be her full time caregivers. We were losing ourselves to the process and both of us were exhausted on all levels. One day my sister came into the house with a schedule that gave us both the time we needed away from the work to be the best team players we could be. Sometimes the schedule is about getting things done, that schedule made time for doing whatever we wanted. I’m forever grateful. It was the memory of that schedule that made me excited yesterday. It gave me hope that i will have that sense of purpose and accomplishment on this long stretch of sleepy beach that offers just that to anyone who’s motivated to do whatever it is they set their minds to.
For some (like my partner) a schedule seems like prison. Expecting him to follow one is not helpful! I know that what works for me doesn’t for everyone. But something does for everyone. Part of our life’s work, i think, is figuring that out. And being grateful for the remembering when we’ve forgotten.