Time is time; not money.

Time is money.

Right?

If I had a dollar every time I heard that phrase, I swear, I would have so much more time on my hands.

More time to do things, the more things you do, the better you feel, so eat your beans with every meal right?

Something like that.

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Train-tracks leading to nowhere, USA

Except then why are our anxiety levels so high in the United States? Why are people in the United States constantly exhausted, depressed, overstimulated and overwhelmed?

More than 1 out of 20 people age 12 and older have reported being currently depressed. 18% of the United States population have some kind of anxiety disorder.

Then why hasn’t my grandfather heard about Anxiety Disorders?

Why don’t I know anyone over the age of 35 that has ADHD?

These are questions that I have been asking myself for a long time… And I suspect the answers are much bigger than a simple blog post could ever express – most likely involving complex systems of industrialized working and consumer based cultures – but I digress.

Time is different here in Costa Rica.

In the United States, one of my professor’s favorite sayings is:
“If you’re not early, you’re late.”

Well here in Costa Rica, if you’re on time, you’re early, and if you’re late, you’re on time.
Weird, Right?

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Playa Hermosa, learning how to take my time.

Yeah, well it totally rocked my world.

After spending some serious time in cities like Paris, New York and Philadelphia, where you have to walk fast just to fit in, I was speeding past the poor Ticas and Ticos (Costa Ricans) on the sidewalks, blazing my way to the next destination.

I would find myself stirring in my seat when we had no plans or a simple trip to the store took me 2 hours instead of 20 minutes.

“Why are we rushing? Are we in a hurry?”

Well, no but…

Is there something that you have to do later?”

No, not at all, but… 

“Just relax, we’ll get there when we get there, but right now, now we are here.”

Words so sweet and smooth, that struck my heart.

Why am I rushing? Why do I need have an itinerary? Why can’t I just enjoy the here and now?

I had never been given the opportunity to think of time as simply that, just time. Something to be enjoyed, something to be spent with loved ones, in beautiful places, in peace.

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Playa Hermosa, chasing the sunset.

In the United States, we are not allowed to be at peace.

Peace isn’t productive, and production is King.

In order for us to be as productive as possible, the United States has reduced our lunch hours to 30 minutes, expected our employees to answer emails after work hours, limited vacation time and personal days, and recorded hours worked down to the minute.

Everything has a schedule; everything has a time and a place.

Sounds awfully industrial, right?

There is such a thing as too productive.

More and more studies are being released proving that taking time to relax increases productivity. More and more countries are catching on to the fact that more leisure time makes people happier than money every could.

Unlearning fast-pace of lifestyle isn’t easy. It kind of feels like unwinding a chord from around my chest, opening my heart up to the possibilities of the everything – and the nothing – that comes along with taking your time.

But I am so happy and excited to be doing so.

costa rica coconuts

Costa Rica; re-learning America.

“Have you traveled much?”

The sweet Dutch girl asked me as the airplane had finally pushed off from the ground and into the air. She pulled three packets of tissues out of her carry-on and pushed them into the seat-back pocket in front of me; her nose red from constant blowing.

I swallowed, and shifted in my seat. The last thing I wanted was to be sick.

Continue reading “Costa Rica; re-learning America.”