“So…. how much time should we wait before we just…. leave?”
“In my school, if the professor is late, we give them 5 minutes for every degree they have.”
“How many degrees does the professor have?”
“He definitely has his doctorate.”
“So….15 minutes then?”
I inhaled deeply, trying to drown out the complaining of the other students with sound of my breath in my ears.
I should have brought my headphones.
At 1:15 p.m. the class conducted a coup and the students scurried off in different directions.
Only 5 dedicated individuals, including me, decided to remain outside the classroom to wait for our professor.
I could feel my stomach churning.
What is he going to think when he gets here?
“He’s going to be so pissed.” A student next to me whispered.
Sure enough, within the next 3 minutes the professor, seemingly oblivious to his 25-minute-tardiness, casually unlocked the door.
Talk about ‘Tico Time.
Before he could even enter the classroom, we sheepishly explained to him what happened.
But instead of yelling at the class for leaving, he treated the remaining students to coffee.
I could feel the knot that had previously was taking over my stomach untangle itself as I sipped my café con leche.
Wait… Why was I even stressed in the first place?
Tranquila Gringa! Why worry for nothing?
Before coming to Costa Rica, I have always considered myself a very low stress, go with the flow kind of girl.
But since moving here, I’ve been surrounded by a culture that truly flows at a different pace than mine. I have been able to sense stress manifesting itself inside of myself. Something that I have never been able to consciously recognize before.
I’ve been recognizing it more and more in subtle ways.
Things that I just deemed as “bad habits” or pushed aside, that now seem to only manifest themselves during moments where I feel stressed or worried.
I can’t help but feel that I never would have recognized this if I hadn’t removed myself from the fast paced lifestyle.
Taking the time that is necessary to do things properly.
Wait the extra three minutes.
Drink the coffee.
I can be stressed; stressed can never be me.
By allowing myself to differentiate “stress” and “worry” from my “normal state of being”, I can now feel whenever I’m becoming worried or stressed. I’m no Buddhist monk, but I definitely feel like I am starting to learn how to control my emotions better.
Bit by bit.
I’m able to identify these emotions, and work towards relaxing and eliminating them from my life.
Bit by bit, of course.
Now I know what it’s like to not be constantly worrying about being late to class, walking too slow, or accidentally running a stop-sign.
I know what stress and worry looks like whenever they do rear their ugly heads.
And they do.
Stress kills, so knock it off.
Seriously though, stress has been shown to increase the amount of Interleukin-6, or IL-6, in your body. IL-6 is a chemical that manifests itself in your blood. IL-6 has been linked to increase in heart disease, depression, arthritis, osteoporosis and potentially even some kinds of cancer.
Stress has been statistically shown to lower life expectancy, and that alone is enough to motivate me to calm down and take the waves as they come.
I’m obviously no zen master yet, but I do know that I’m learning more about myself everyday in Costa Rica.
Mind, body, and soul.
I can’t wait to see what else is out there to discover.
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