I’ve always been someone who finds beauty in unexpected places, but that part of me has been amplified since I moved to Costa Rica. I’m not trying; it just happens. I approach every new day with an unfailing sense of wonderment. I’m far from being jaded to the point that small things that others don’t notice fill me with childlike delight.
I wax poetic when the thunderstorms roll in and a hard rain settles in for the afternoon and night—despite the fact that I have to walk home through running water and sideways rain and I’m completely bedraggled by the time I get there.
I am enchanted by things others find ugly. Rusted tin roofs and graffiti and volunteer tomato plants growing randomly in the sewers. Leaf cutters walking across the sidewalk and hunched little old ladies who wish me buenos días on my morning run.
I appreciate all types of people I encounter even if they aren’t my favorite personality type. I love meeting people and I also love being alone. If I go downtown and walk among the jam-packed Avenida Central on a weekend, I can’t stop grinning over the raucous, teeming crowd.
Cloudy skies make me cry out with joy over how they resemble watercolor paintings. I exclaim over blue skies. Pink sunsets and slow gray dusks make me point upward and talk about the beauty there.
I recently spent a month with a roommate from a different culture. Several weeks into living with him, he mentioned he had never seen a Cheshire moon before and was surprised at how often that happened in Costa Rica. As far as I am aware, Cheshire moons are common everywhere, not just here. I was confused until I realized that he had simply never made a habit of looking up. But he lived with me, who said, “Oh, look at that amazing moon,” so many times, it opened his eyes to all the different moons there are.
Instead of engaging people who bring me down, I simply walk away. I don’t have time for their dramas and I refuse to be subjected to their negativity.
And THAT, my friends, is what has really changed in me. I spent over ten years loving someone who was negative at least 5 minutes out of every day –and sometimes 24 hours out of the day. I engaged it. I tried to help. When that didn’t work, I was sucked into the negativity. I was hurt. I was angry. I cried a lot. I never got real apologies and I had to be fine with weathering it until it passed.
How liberating it is to remove myself from other people’s crap. And of course, Costa Rica is very pura vida and most people don’t walk around upset and grumpy and nasty. I had a person tell me the other day it was beautiful how I laughed, beautiful how I even laughed at my own expense, beautiful how I found joy and humor in little things. I had another person say she craved my positive energy. I’ve also been teased for finding simple things extraordinary, but I am proud of this part of me.
My secret? Love yourself first. Take care of yourself, honor yourself. Put yourself in an environment that makes you happy. Back away from melodrama. And look around at how much beauty there is.