“There is more to life than increasing its speed.”– Mohandas K. Gandhi
So what does an old man “Retired in Costa Rica” do with his time? Especially since cancer and the dreaded cancer treatment forced a slowdown? In short, I have slowed down! And those who know me well may find that hard to believe. 🙂 It is easier said than done for the hyper-active little boy who is sort of who I am. So this blog post will be My “Essay on Slowing Down” or more accurately on “what it is like for me to slow down.” I have now learned to “Enjoy the Moments” here in Costa Rica and hopefully I can share the joy of living slow in Costa Rica! 🙂
Aha! You’re still reading! And as my high school English teacher would have had me do with an essay, I’ll break it into parts with sub-headings! 🙂
- All Else is Free Time?
- Free Time At Home . . .
- Enjoying the Moment!
One of the blogs I read regularly is written on Sunday only by another retiree here in Costa Rica with a positive, nature-focused report of her Sunday morning here in paradise and the meaningful experiences she has had that week. One statement in this morning’s post from her made me think of my past life full of agendas. She said . . .
Although I have no firm agenda anymore, I still seem to fill my days with activities. I think that keeping active is a good way to remain connected and healthy, physically and mentally. I enjoy being able to spot a new blossom, fruit or bird and experience a true joy observing the colors of the sunsets during this time of the year.~Marietta
And so it goes with me too! But note that she is talking about activity and not full agendas! Though there are still regularly scheduled activities that require me to set a morning alarm or be somewhere at a specific time, like my maid arrives at 6:15 every Wednesday morning making it the morning I must arise the earliest! I have to be up and dressed! 🙂
Then my Spanish language lessons on Skype at 7:50 every Tuesday and Thursday now, tho not quite as early! The rest of the mornings I can sleep late unless there’s a doctor’s appointment and I’m getting tired of those with hopefully all soon satisfied that I’m recovering appropriately and these appointments will diminish. Then necessary functions like my trash must be out by 7 AM on Tuesday and Saturday mornings and to avoid having to be up that early I now take out my trash before going to bed Monday and Friday nights! 🙂 I spray the bags inside with Lysol and outside with insect spray to discourage “varmits,” though the worst garbage pest at my house is the daytime Black Vulture and my sprays deter him too. 🙂 Then my only “regular” shopping is for groceries on Sunday morning with the fewest people there! No alarm needed though! 🙂 And I think I have already explained why I no longer go to church on Sunday mornings and I may speak to that again in another post.
All Else is Free Time?
Well, sort of . . . when I’m not on a trip which I’m limiting to once every two months, or a doctor or other important appointment that make up life for everyone. Other than my once a week planned grocery shopping, I occasionally pop in for something I forgot or need to go to the pharmacy, hardware store or other shop as needed and sometimes on the spur of the moment. I eat out regularly every Friday night at the Androvetto Grill and trying now to eat more at other places as my taste improves. I like eating lunch or breakfast occasionally at El Balcón del Café (no dinner here), Park Place NY-Atenas Restaurant (new with NY menu), Donde Bocha for fast food and appetizers, and I’m beginning to discover more, though my favorite closed for good with the Pandemic.
My first 3 years here I went to a theater movie once or twice a year but haven’t now in about 4 years and may never again unless there are some better movies than I’ve read about lately.
Once Costa Rica is free of Covid I will again join other expat retirees here on trips to plays, museums, ball games, theater, and eating out. But not yet! And I’ve already talked to Walter about some “Day Trips” I want to make near here, especially for some more waterfall photos! But there is also a garden art business I want to visit soon, so those kind of “impulsive” activities are a part of my “Free Time!” And then what about . . .
My Free Time at Home . . .
It is truly unplanned and unscheduled, but like everyone I have regular necessary things that include . . .
- Cooking and cleaning up the kitchen (mostly 2 meals a day)
- Bath and other bathroom activities
- Rare maintenance of the house
- Spasmodic gardening and watering in dry season
Then there are the truly free time things I do because I want to and not on any schedule, but almost impulsively . . .
- Sleeping as long as I can on some mornings which increased with the radiation therapy up to 11 hours. Now 8 or 9 hours is about all I can do but I sometimes take a short nap in the afternoon, not always sleeping but resting.
- Sitting on my terrace watching nature, photographing nature, reading, eating a meal or snack, drinking a cup of tea or coffee (coffee only in morning), and occasionally a neighbor stops by and that is where we visit.
- Walking with my camera (different from walks to town for business) in the immediate neighborhood or on two surrounding rural roads for birds or other nature photos.
- “Playing” with my photos on the computer. I try to organize my photos by dates and places on the computer and then as quick as possible pick the better ones to go in my Photo Gallery which is my more permanent place for photos and only the good ones. I sometimes “tweak” a photo a little and/or crop it using Photoshop Elements 8, the simplest editing platform.
- I also often create a Blog Post with my favorite photo of that day or with previous day’s photos and occasionally write an essay-type blog post as today. 🙂
- And when I get in a writing mood (not terribly often) I will also write on the undated portion of my WordPress website (not the dated blog posts). WordPress earlier called these “static pages,” and for me that is the “About” and other personal pages including some family history and pages on my many travels before Costa Rica! 🙂
- Reading is also a big free time activity now and I’m working on a new children’s adventure/fantasy series called The Wingfeather Saga. I will do a post on it later. I also read a lot of non-fiction and often get bored and don’t finish them. 🙂
- A new thing I’m trying, since I don’t like TV, is a documentary streaming called CuriosityStream that is totally documentaries with a big emphasis on nature. They weekly add new shows, so it is possible that I will never run out of documentaries to watch like I did on Netflix, which is even more limited here in Costa Rica than in the states, but still costs per month what I got CuriosityStream for a whole year ($8).
- Cooking is occasionally fun or impulsive, but mostly a necessity and included above in the necessaries.
- I got a Costa Rica Adult Coloring Book and large set of colored pencils, but have not been highly motivated on that yet. Maybe later. 🙂
Enjoy the Moment!
With the above list it may not look like I’m slowing down at all! But staying home more is in itself slowing down after being on the go most of my life. Plus I’m learning to enjoy the moment that I’m in right now! That is life-changing!
And Not having a car really helps too! 🙂 Try it! You’ll like it! 🙂 And who knows, I might cut my current trips down to further apart than every two months! 🙂 Savoring each moment more! 🙂 And one explanation on trips: I don’t wait until the last minute to plan last minute trips impulsively because by then the good lodges are booked, some more than a year in advance! 🙂
So it is the overall lifestyle that is slower now. Even the trips themselves are slower now with less strenuous activities and more contemplation. I now sleep more, rest more, and relax more. And playing with my photos is very relaxing! 🙂 Even writing like this is somewhat relaxing as long as I don’t have to meet a deadline! 🙂 (A former editor speaking now!) 🙂
“If you’re always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you’re in? Slow down and enjoy the moment you’re in and live your life to the fullest.”― Nanette Mathews
Enjoying the Moments, Retired in Costa Rica!
6 Replies to “Slowing Down”
I’m happy to hear you are slowing down for that will make a big difference in your healing from the cancer treatments and also in your overall health. I’m sure it is easier said than done for a person that has lived as busy of a life as you. I’ve known you for all the 69 years of my life and I can honestly say I have never been able to keep up with you! It sounds like you have plenty of things lined up to keep you busy. Learning to live in the moment is a worthy goal and not always as easy as it sounds. Your post here sounds like a perfect example of Pura Vida! Enjoy!
Yes Bonnie, easier said than done for me but at first it was a “forced slowdown” (from the radiation) and now a goal more than a fact maybe. But I am learning to enjoy the moments and to sit still longer than I ever could before. And I’m not sure where that ol’ internal drive to always be accomplishing something or doing something came from, but it seems to have been there all my life, thus “slowing down” or “enjoying the moment” is easier said that done for someone like me, but a worthy goal and I’m actually making progress! 🙂 And liking it! 🙂
In our distracted world, I think living in the moment might be one of the toughest things to accomplish, but a very worthy pursuit. Wishing you the best in savoring each one.
Mary, thank you! And yes, it is more of a goal than a constant fact now, but I’m making progress! Savoring the moment can be a real joy! 🙂
We also read Marietta’s blog every Sunday. The two of you are a soothing influence on us in these difficult times.
Steve & Lucy,
It’s all about being “Retired in Costa Rica” or ¡Pura Vida! 🙂