In America, we often measure success in college degrees, jobs, possessions and status. We then measure our happiness by that same definition of success. As a result, the health of our mind and body, fulfillment of our soul, as well as relationships with family and friends often fall by the way side.
What initially drew me to Costa Rica was the concept of Pura Vida or Pure Life. Pura Vida is something you have to experience to truly understand (so please visit!), but for those of you who won’t be making your way over to this beautiful country anytime soon, it refers to a simpler way of life. Pura Vida is relaxed, well balanced and emphasizes true happiness.
The average life expectancy of a person in Costa Rica is roughly 80 years. This is slightly higher than that of the United States and of Western Europe. Keep in mind that Costa Rica is a developing country and health care spending per person within the country is only a fraction of what it is in the United States. This longevity can be accredited to the healthy diet (consisting of mainly meats, fish, fresh vegetables and fresh fruits), strong sense of community, active daily routine, and a great work-life balance. Not to mention the beautiful setting!
The next five months of my life will be spent trying to learn from what these beautiful people value. I want to reprogram my understanding of what is truly important and I believe I’m in the perfect place for that. There may be less-than warm showers some days and I may have to co-exist with nature even when inside my home, but these experiences are humbling. I am realizing that we need far less than we think we do and that the temperature of my shower is very low on my priority list of needs. Plus, the trade off is well worth it.
I urge anyone and everyone to visit this country, see it’s beauty and experience Pura Vida for theirselves. I am only on day six, but if at the end of the five months I can be half as humble, healthy and happy as a “Tico” or “Tica” then I will have achieved what I came here for. I’ll keep you posted!
* Gringa– This is what the Costa Ricans call female native English speakers
* Tico/Tica – Tico is a male Costa Rican and Tica is a female Costa Rican
By: Chelsey Reardon