I survived! 11 Life lessons learned during a quarter-life crisis

I’m turning 27 in a few days and, I’ll be honest, I think I went through this crisis nearly all 20-somethings are going through, have survived, or are just about to start.

I didn’t realize it, but a few months after I turned 25 I started to experience symptoms now labeled as the “Quarter-Life Crisis” which are secretly or not-so-secretly devouring the souls of 20-somethings across the country. This enigma is now plastered all over the internet (on Huffington Post, there are 26,900 posts tagged “quarter-life crisis” alone!), but when I was starting to experience it, I hadn’t a clue others were going through the same thing.

I don’t know why exactly it is happening, but it is, and hey, so be it.

Regardless, at 25, all I knew was that I was unhappy and I was searching for something more, something greater than what I was experiencing… My job was good, my friends were good, my income was good… Life. was. good. But, I just couldn’t shake the desire to rip my hair out and run free, starting with quitting my job and moving to the jungle 🙂

Just days after I turned 26, I did just that.

However, I didn’t do it recklessly — I’d spent months saving and selling my things, weaning my body off prescription drugs, going to therapy, and tying up loose ends and breaking up with my boyfriend (a couple times). I was doing what any responsible, young professional would do while secretly FREAKING THE FUCK OUT.  I was scared — I didn’t know really why I was doing what I was doing, but I knew I had to do something. I seemed calm and collected enough, and could very eloquently tell you why this was a good decision for my future (“learning natural ways of caring for cows and taking care of jungle plants will look great on my design resume!” yeah…).

Despite having a semblance of a “plan” (Costa Rican permaculture farm where I would blog about learning to be a “good person”, about figuring out my purpose and how to take care of myself and the environment better, followed by a move to the Pacific Northwest where I would surround myself with “good people” and get to work on living my purpose), I really had no clue what was waiting for me.

Regardless, in the middle of my crisis, I took off.

Over the past year, this 27th year of my life, I lived in the Costa Rican jungle and worked on the farm (where I did surround myself with “good people”, and I did kind-of-sorta figure out my purpose and how to take care of myself and the environment better), but then I changed course and traveled to Nicaragua and Guatemala and dove into yoga and spirituality, and then (long story short), I came back to Michigan, moved to the ever-hip Royal Oak for a month and nannied for a rich suburban-Detroit family with twin boys (weird life choice on my part), then moved myself to a big farmhouse outside of Traverse City and worked at a winery for a month (good intentions, bad execution), and then, I took a safe, career-style job with Traverse City’s newspaper (where I’m still working) and I recently moved downtown next to a local food co-op.

Life. Is. Good.

I can honestly say that I think (and hope!) my quarter-life crisis is over and that I’ve survived. More than that, I’ve grown and I’ve learned many things that I hope to keep with me as personal truths for as long as I live.

This year wasn’t easy, though. The 27th year of my life was probably the most difficult year I’ve ever had. But, I’m grateful for it. Through this year, filled with sky-high mountains and extremely low valleys (literally and figuratively), I’ve learned many valuable lessons. I want to share each of them with you so that regardless of your stage in life, regardless if you’ve ever experienced a life crisis or not, maybe these lessons will resonate and you’ll decide to incorporate an idea or two into your lives. And maybe, just maybe, we will all have better, richer lives because of them.

Life is AMAZING. And full of lessons. Here are eleven from my very own quarter-life crisis.

11 Life Lessons from my 27th Year

1) Stop asking for your purpose in life.

Let go of figuring out what you should do and just do the things that make you truly happy — THAT is your purpose. Things that bring you bliss will help spark your inner fire and will guide you closer to your dharma, your unique path in life that will enrich this world.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been asking God, and anyone who I trust enough to really listen, what I should be doing with my life. “What is my purpose?” “What is my gift?” “What am I being called to do?” These phrases have been written countless times in every journal I’ve owned, and if God has a catalog of my prayers somewhere I’m sure this is a theme that repeats itself more than any other.  This was one of the first lessons I learned after turning 26 and, although I’ve asked for my purpose again since coming to this realization, I am BEYOND GRATEFUL that I now know this to be a truth for my life.

When I decided to move to the farm pre-Portland, I told myself I’d use this disconnect from the first world to really, really focus on what my purpose is in life. Four months away? Easy peasy. I’ll figure it out then I’ll move to the west coast with a clear vision for my life and I’ll relentlessly go for it, whatever that purpose is. And I’ll never have to ask “what should I do?” again!

Well… I moved to the farm and spent a couple weeks asking myself, god, the trees, the waterfalls, the animals, and probably hinted at it to every person I met. It was obvious this was my goal.

But then, during an amazing massage session one night, it came to me. Clear as my best friend’s voice.

“Stop asking! Just do! Do what makes you happy. THAT is your purpose. Now go.”

And wow, what peace came with that revelation. I realized that the things I genuinely love to do and that make me happy ARE helping the planet and her people, and for now at least, that is purpose enough. So, I’ve stopped asking and I’m making an intentional effort each day to do things that bring me joy and fill my cup. I’m done with should. For now 🙂

2) Don’t be them. Be you.

You can never be anyone else but yourself, who YOU really are. You’ll always be disappointed and unhappy if you keep comparing yourself to others, envying the attributes of others, and trying to be anyone but yourself. Each of us are blessed with our own unique strengths, with gifts that only WE can share, and loves and likes tailored to our own special being.

And, let’s be real, we’re each pretty awesome. So, enough wishing you were anything other than YOU. And… JUST BE YOU!

I think I did a number on my self-confidence through years of trying to be like others. For whatever reason, until late this year, who I was just wasn’t enough. I wasn’t preppy enough, or pretty enough, or graceful enough, or yogi-enough, or hippie-enough, or tough enough, or brave enough, or travelled enough or… the list goes on. Every time I entered a new social situation, I immediately compared myself to everyone in the room. And then, I’d judge myself. “Oh no, I don’t have the right clothes, or I don’t know enough about x and y to be here,” etc. Silly things. We each have a right to be wherever we are, and we are PERFECT just the way we are, and, always, we HAVE ENOUGH and we ARE ENOUGH. And that’s all the matters.

So, let it go and just be yourself. All of yourself. Live you as BOLD as you can!

3) Let your voice speak the loudest!

Everyone has an opinion of who you are and what you should do and why, but really, the ONLY opinion that has any weight on these issues is YOURS. Only you know just who you really are (and if you don’t, take some time for you and make it a goal to figure it out — I’m still learning each day), and ultimately only you have to live with your decisions.

So, starting today, MAKE YOURSELF PROUD.

Most people are only trying to help by offering advice and, like I said above and many times before, it’s normal to want direction and sometimes getting it from others is easier than getting it from ourselves. But really, our hearts know just what to do, so listen. And then do. And it’s ok to tell the other voices, “Thanks but no thanks. I got this.”

I have so many people in my life, most of whom I love, who like to tell me what I should do — this past year was filled with this. I’ve gotten everything from “you should take yoga teacher training right now” and “just don’t pay off your student loans — live here in the jungle instead!,” to “you’re meant to be a writer, so just start writing your book” and “I know in my heart you need to be a missionary — you need to go to seminary school.”

All of these may be great options for somebody, but for ME, for my life right now, none of these are what I should be doing. Only I can decide that. So thanks, but no thanks.

4) Choose to be choosey.

This is YOUR life so live it how YOU want to. If it makes you feel good, do it. If it doesn’t, don’t. Simple. Choose how you spend your time, with whom you spend it with (even if that person is YOURSELF more often than not), what you wear, what you eat, how to exercise, where to live, etc. The list goes on and on, but ultimately, each day we’re faced with choices and if we’re not choosing for ourselves, who is?

I have wasted so much of my life trying to make others happy or going with the flow, sometimes to appease others and sometimes because I couldn’t decide on a better option so why not? Well, this year, I’ve learned to take a step back and ask if something will enrich my life before making a decision. This is a newer one for me, but so far, the quality of my life has increased and I’m more focused on what I want. I also feel more at peace knowing the decisions I’m making are getting me closer to where I want to be.

5) Move! Physical motion is magic.

Our bodies aren’t meant to be sedentary. We have muscles and joints, we’re flexible, we’re strong — we’re ALIVE! The health of our bodies and minds is directly connected and we must make sure to take care of each. For our bodies, the best thing we can do is move. Walking, running, dancing, yoga, swimming… It doesn’t matter the activity, it only matters that we move.

If you’re feeling down, try going for a walk and let yourself be IN that walk. Be present while moving your body and you’ll be amazed how quickly your mood may change. It’s magic.

I am a dancer by nature. I love to move my body, to twirl and twist and leap. Yeah, maybe I’m too old to dance like a toddler in a tutu, but you know what? It makes me happy and I love it, so I’m going to continue doing it until I stop loving it. When I dance or practice yoga or swim, I feel my body releasing tension and I feel light and free! I’m just that little bit closer to the highest version of myself because I’m putting my body to work in a way that brings me bliss.

6) Spend time outside. Every day.

We’re part of the natural world and, to connect more with ourselves, we need to spend time IN the natural world. Be outside, observe the plants and animals, hear the wind in the trees and water lapping on a shoreline, smell the flowers or hayfields, feel tree bark with your fingers or grass between your toes… Just BE outside. This world is pretty amazing, and observing the natural way of things can help put our lives into perspective and calm our overactive, production-focused minds.

I’ve spent a lot of time outside this past year which helped me reconnect with this fact I’ve always known — nature is where we belong. I’m so thankful for Costa Rica and the farm which kept me immersed in nature all day every day for three months, but I’m also grateful for the big lonely house in northern Michigan and its couple hundred acres of woods and fields, and for the beautiful bodies of water in and around this state, and for the trails and hills and trees constantly calling, inviting us to visit. Whenever I find I’m agitated, stressed, heavy, or just off, I’ve learned that if I can drop everything and go outside, I feel better.

7) Listen to your body.

If we listen to our bodies — to our energy levels, to our cravings, to our aches and pains — we’ll gain a lot of insight into what we need. If we honor the body’s intuition we’ll feel better and reclaim balance within. Sometimes we need to take a day off. Sometimes we need some extra protein or water or fruit. Sometimes the way we’ve been exercising isn’t right or we need to adjust our posture. If we listen, we’ll know.

We push ourselves so much, often to unhealthy extremes, and this is only going to wear us down. On the other hand, many of us don’t push ourselves enough. We need to rest, but we also need to recognize that we may have more energy than normal so we should use it!

I’ve put so much pressure on myself to always do as much as I can — I’m a hardworking American girl who can do anything I put my mind to, at any time, right? Well sure. But really, why is this “achievement” important? If my body is tired, then hey, I’m going to take a break and relax. And, if my body is craving sweets (which it does, all the time), this signals to me an imbalance either in my nutrition or in the way my body is processing food. I’m only just starting to tap into my body’s callings, but it’s really fascinating how much I’ve learned already. So… take an evaluation of your body and see what’s speaking to you. Then do what you can to help it out.

8) Prioritize your pleasure points.

What brings you joy? Think about it. Write it down. A few things that REALLY make you happy. Then, make it a priority to incorporate these things into your life and into your daily routine. Each day, don’t go to bed unless you can say you’ve done at least ONE thing that gives you pleasure. Make it happen and trust me, you’ll feel better.

A friend of mine shared this with me a few months ago and ever since, I can honestly say I’ve made sure to include at least one of my pleasure points into my day, EVERY SINGLE DAY. And, I’m a pretty happy gal these days. My happiness has always been important to me, but what really makes me happy? Until recently I knew somethings did and somethings didn’t, but until I thought about it with the goal of identifying actual topics or activities, I couldn’t tell you. Now, I know, and my things are written on little colored notes next to my alarm clock. Each night I see them and each night I can go to bed at peace knowing I’ve done something intentional for my happiness that day.

(Curious what my five pleasure points are? I have five that I can, without a doubt, rely on to bring me joy. 1- Nature. 2- Yoga. 3- Creation (writing, cooking, art, etc.). 4- Sweat (vigorous exercise of some sort). 5- Travel (discovering a new place even if that’s in my home city).)

9) Make peace with your past.

Guilt gets you nowhere, and regret and shame are big roadblocks to self-love and living fully. This is a tough one, but it really is important to accept your decisions, regardless of outcome, and move on.

There are many things in my past I’m not proud of — many times I did the wrong thing, let something go on for far too long, made a decision with costly consequences, and many times I probably sacrificed too much or gave too little. Today, I am thankful I can say, I’ve accepted each event for what it was and I’ve moved on.

And, I’ll be honest, I feel a lot lighter and much more at peace with my present because of this.

10) Happiness happens but so does pain.

Everything is cyclical and our moods are not exempt from this truth. Regardless of circumstance, we will experience bliss, but we will also experience sadness. We can try to contain feelings we enjoy but no matter what, emotions are fleeting and every day will not be a good day. However, there is peace in this truth because, just as happiness fades, so does sadness.

We must be cautious not to get attached to one emotion because although we love feeling pleasure, we must remember there is something so raw, so human and beautiful, about feeling pain. There’s no way around our emotions, and the only thing we can do is just let them be.

I experienced so many highs and lows this past year. I even journaled about what nirvana and enlightenment may feel like because, at one point in the jungle, I could truly say I’d never been happier! It was like a took a bliss pill and was in the middle of a high lasting several weeks straight — happiness without any effort. No sadness or worry or anxiety or pain. Just joy.

But then, sure enough, a mere month or two later I lay face down in a field, sobbing, asking for some relief from the pain and sadness I was feeling. Asking for a way out of the dark place I’d gotten to. I spent days confused, sometimes openly lost and sometimes outwardly collected, while torn and writhing with pain inside.

Regardless of emotion, I can now say I’m grateful for the act of feeling and for the assurance that after every gloomy day or week or month, a good one is sure to come.

11) Manifestation works! 

Think of what you want to happen, what you really want to bring into your life, and ta-da! There it is! Maybe this is mystical stuff and too much for many of us to believe but hey, it seems to work!

I don’t remember exactly when I was enlightened on the power of manifestation but I do remember first putting it into practice this past spring. It sounds silly but so be it, I’m still a 20-something. I was in Nicaragua spending a few days on the beach with my girl friends and I decided that night I wanted to meet a tall, attractive, surfer boy who would sweep me off my feet and treat me sweet all night. I planted the idea in my brain, and then I envisioned and believed it would happen.

Then, I’m not even kidding, a few hours later just as my friends and I were about to leave the the bar and head back to our hostel for the night, up walks a tall, GORGEOUS, Canadian surfer (yeah… God makes these apparently), who says, “Como estas, señorita?,” to which I reply excitedly, “Estoy bien! Y tu?” He tilted his head and said with a half-smile, “Yeah I don’t speak Spanish. Would you like to dance?” And then, we spent the rest of the evening dancing, drinking, laughing, and loving. It was exactly what I wanted.

Each time since, whenever I’ve been able to verbalize exactly what I want and actually start to see it in my mind, IT HAS HAPPENED. Craziness I know. But wow. From people I’ve wanted to meet, to a job I wanted to get, to a place I wanted to live… It’s all happened.

So, dream! Dream big dreams, little dreams, whatever. Just start thinking of what you really want to bring into your life and get practicing — let me know how it turns out for you 🙂

All of these lessons symbolize my 27th year. Thank you for being part of my journey, and here’s to turning 27! Cheers.

Below are some shots of me at 26, doing my thing and learning some lessons. Most smiles genuine 😉 And my oh my, what a year it’s been.

IMG_1720 IMG_2236IMG_2157IMG_1682 IMG_1431

This view…

I want to borrow the eyes of everyone on the planet for just a few moments. For just these few moments…

I see layer upon layer of green, brighter in the foreground and fading to a steely gray blue as my gaze meets the horizon. Each layer is jagged and uneven, peaks and valleys shaped from the Earth’s inner movement over thousands and thousands of years. Trees of lime green and chesnut brown, of forest green and a bright, bold emerald, and even a red the color of Costa Rica’s clay soil. I see the occasional cow pasture or coffee field, and even a handful of paths cut from the mountainsides for us humans to traverse. A swallow-like bird descends, then rises and glides gracefully across the heavens. She meets two others and together they fly. A breathtaking and tear-inducing dance intended for no one but themselves, but gratefully, I watch.

In my 26 years, I’ve never seen a more beautiful place. I am on top of the world at around 1,500 feet, observing Mother Earth live and breathe all around me. We are one, and we are together just as we were meant to be. This is truth. This is life. And my friends, this is paradise. Welcome.

Mountaintop paradise.

Mountaintop paradise.

Just do it! Taking chances and living fully.

What is it you want to do?

Many of YOU reading this blog post right now have let me know how impressed you are that I tossed aside the path I was on and made a change… made things happen. From so many people over the past several months, I’ve heard these words: Oh I’m so jealous! I wish I could do that.

Well, guess what? YOU CAN!

“That” doesn’t have to mean living on a permaculture farm in the Costa Rican jungle (although it very well could!), but “that” could mean putting aside all the “have tos” and “need tos” and just doing what your heart is calling you to do.

Big or small – whatever it may be, it’s what YOU want to do or where YOU want to go. Travel to India, write a book, practice yoga, learn to cook, plant a garden, become a pilot, open a boutique, volunteer in a hospital, protest against the man… anything YOU want to do!

This world is full of possibilties and opportunities for genuine happiness, but the only way you’ll ever feel truly full is when you dive in, headfirst, and trust the Universe to make the path. But you have to decide first. Then, move foward, and it will happen.

It’s not easy, but it’s worth it

I’m not one of those people who lives without responsibilities and physical and financial obligations, so I understand how easy it is to feel like leaping into the big unknown is impossible.

I have loads of college loan debt and credit cards and three pets in the States. I have ties to life “back home” which made the decision to follow my heart against all odds quite tough — it wasn’t easy and it took planning, saving, and sacrifice. BUT, had I not decided to work against that adversity, I wouldn’t be sitting in the sun, drinking watermelon puree, and watching the world go by in a Costa Rican beachtown.

I knew inside my heart that there was MORE I wanted out of life than what I was experiencing in my mitten state. My life was perfectly well and fine, but inside of me, I knew I wouldn’t be fulfilled if I continued on the road I was on. Yeah, I may have had some cash, and eventually a house and a family, but I wouldn’t have bright, glowing, full happiness! So, I decided enough was enough and I made the decision to change.

How I changed my life

Week after week I sat in my therapist’s office (yes, I’m one of those people…) and gushed about my need for something more. And week after week she’d encourage me to make a change — to listen to my heart and to do what I wanted. And, week after week, I’d fill her ears with “buts” and “what ifs” and unnecessary doubt. She’d laugh a bit and tell me that there is nothing to be scared of and that the Universe will always make a way. She’d tell me that I have all the skills to make my life as perfect as I can imagine. She’d say that a life lived without risks isn’t really lived at all (my translation of course).

And one day, she encouraged me to own my dreams and to tell the Universe exactly what I wanted. She told me to SAY IT OUT LOUD. Put my intentions right out there!

I cringed. I couldn’t. I giggled nervously and told her that I just COULD NOT speak the words.

She smiled, and told me to do it anyway.

So… I did.

I said, “I’m quitting my job and in three months, I’m moving. I’m doing it!”

In that instant, I felt a huge wave of relief rush over me. It was happening! That’s all it took, and I knew deep down that things were changing for me. I was taking back the control of my life I’d lost in the few years prior. I was finally going to own my destiny!

And that, my friends, is all you have to do. …And then tell a couple people who you trust will help keep you accountable and who can share in your excitement. Because taking back your life is sooooo very exciting!

Making it happen

After I made that proclamation last summer, I started generating idea after idea. I decided to move west, so that’s where I concentrated my energies. I knew I was going to need money, I was going to have to tell my job, my roommates, my boyfriend… I was going to have to get things in motion if I was actually going to make a change. So I did. Piece by piece and bit by bit, I started fitting together pieces of my puzzle.

And then, along the way, Costa Rica came to me. Somewhere inside of me I knew that I had to come here, for some reason. It wasn’t the main destination at the time, but it was a stop along the way that I had to experience. I put very little thought into this piece because the majority of what I was saving toward was moving my life to the ocean.

Here I am. Now. Happy. Grateful. Blessed.

Here I am. Now. Happy. Grateful. Blessed.

However… For now, for this moment, Costa Rica IS the key point for me I think. I need this place — Costa Rica is helping me figure out some pretty life-changing things: staying in the now, letting plans help guide the path but not letting them rule out opportunity, loving myself first and foremost, trusting my heart…

And so, here I am. Living life happily. Not knowing exactly where I’m going next, but being fully grateful to be where I am NOW, and being perfectly peaceful knowing the Universe has a pretty great plan for me, as long as I keep going with the flow…

So, friends, if there’s something tugging at your heartstrings, do the world a favor and explore it.

Take a chance. Risk it all. And don’t look back. 

And then along the way, change the path if you feel like it. Let yourself listen to the wind of your soul (Cat Stevens said it well this time), and let yourself flow with it. If you’re not happy with any aspect of your existence, OWN it, and CHANGE it for the better. Make your life yours and live it your way.

You can be happy. NOW is the time.

Look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself what it is you want. And then, make it happen.

…just do it 😉

A week on the beach – grooving with the good life.

If you’ve never done morning yoga on the beach, nearly each morning, just after waking, I suggest you do it. And then, after a good yoga session to get the blood flowing, go for a swim in the ocean. Clean your suit and your soul, and then waltz back to breakfast of fruit and agua dulce (hot water, splash of milk, sugar = yum). Relish in this beauty, and then start your day.

Life is amazing! 

This life is possible, and being lived by so many people in this beautiful little Costa Rican city (Uvita). There are plenty of Gringos living alongside Ticos, and everyone seems to be living the good life. Flowing with the sun and moon, we’re living with the heat by staying out of the sun mid-day, by taking naps if we need to, by going to bed early and waking up early… and by simply taking it easy.

Everyone finds a way to work here and get by — some more successfully than others. But everyone seems to live the same way — happily.

Once I’m done with farm life I just might come back to stay for a while. As in, indefinitely.

xxoo.

Some shots from Uvita:

The travelers…

How dare I let four years go by without doing some solo traveling! Never again.

For those of you who haven’t strapped on a backpack for at least a few weeks, please, do yourself (and the planet) a favor and do it! It may seem a bit daunting, but really, if you can open your mind and say “yes” a few more times than you say “no,” you’ll be rewarded with a lifetime of memories and new perspectives.

When spending a few days away from the farm this week, I met several travelers who were either making their way through San Jose toward one of Costa Rica’s beautiful beaches, or coming here in search of something bigger than themselves and using San Jose as the launch point. Each time I’ve traveled, especially in Costa Rica, I’ve found there are more people like me elsewhere than back home. There’s a different attitude with travelers, especially with the kind of travelers who aren’t exactly sure where they’re going or when they’ll be there. There’s this openness and excitement and curiosity that mimics what I’ve always had inside of me… a drive to know and do and see more! And I love that part about travelers, and about myself.

In the past 24 hours I’ve shared breakfast with an Englishman who just left an orphanage in Norway where he’d been volunteering for the past couple months, who is now headed to a northern Costa Rican yoga and permaculture center for a few months (he’s hoping to do some cleansing and re-setting of his mind… sounds familiar). I also hung out with an American/Israeli duo who did the 9-5 thing while somehow also working the Burning Man festival for the past nine years, and are now hoping to learn how to start their very own organic farm complete with earthships and communal living… And a Canadian gal working for the UN in New York City who came to Costa Rica to surf for Christmas. And a Swiss girl working reception at a Costa Rican hotel. And a Mexican fella who hasn’t seen his family in nearly three years because he can’t force himself to leave Costa Rica… There are so many types here! And this isn’t abnormal — the diversity of travelers on this amazing planet is huge! And I’m one of them. I have my own experiences and stories to help color the traveling world, and I intend to do just that.

So now… how to do just that, with a golden retriever, and no paycheck… Hmm… Ideas welcome 🙂

Some things are always the same… Like homesickness and joy.

Knowing yourself and all your quirks is an important part of living a fulfilled life.

My mom brought up an interesting point about me today. Despite always having a strong inner urge to explore and to learn and experience new things, I also have a very tender heart which needs the affection of my loved ones to feel complete. And therefore, thinking I can have one without the other and still create a full, content life is foolish. I need both!

In each of my several extended stints away from home (Italy for a year, Israel for several months, Italy again for a few months, and now Central America), I always reach a point where I’m reminded just how much I love my family and my friends, and just how much it means to me to feel their love. Sometimes this happens sooner rather than later… Which has already been the case now. I started having a homesick moment where I really missed my dog, togetherness with my ex-boyfriend/whatever he is now (long story – I’m bad at clean breakups remember?), and chilling on my parents’ couch with the hectic busy-ness that inevitably accompanies a large family like ours. It’s the little things that can really pull you toward home.

I’m realizing, though, that yes I do need to feel the love of those most dear to me, but that doesn’t mean I have to physically be with them. In today’s technological pervasive age, I can find ways to swap the love. And then once that happens, I can continue living life day by day and learning as much as I can, and my loved ones back home can still know I’m here for them just as they’re here for me.

Best friends, never apart. Maybe in distance, never in heart.

I also know that there are times when I need to feel joy, and wonder, and giddiness! It’s hard for my emotions to fully release when I’m with others (especially dozens of new “others” who’ve yet to see me without walls), so therefore I need to find comfort alone.

I’m currently sitting in an air-conditioned auditorium in the bottom level of San Jose’s Museo de Oro below Plaza de la Cultura. Simply being in this museum filled with ancient Central American artifacts, a full art gallery of Lola Fernandez, and a big exhibit on cats (fuck yeah for cats!), I feel joy. I feel content and I feel like Robin. Really back to the Robin I am deep down, without the pressure of fitting into farm life, or the confliction of trying to figure ME out and what’s next… Just me. Relaxed. Open. Confident. Content.

In any city, if there’s a museum and an extra few hours, sign me up. Stepping away from the hustle and bustle and into a calm, quiet home for learning definitely revives me. Art. History. Textiles. Anything!

So, I’m glad I’m here. And I’m glad I’m taking my time.

Day by day. Breathe it all in, and love it all out.

This is a Jaguarundi -- one of the few native wild cats still in Costa Rica.

This is a Jaguarundi — one of the few native wild cats still in Costa Rica. I saw an all black version of this crossing the path on my way to the farm. Lucky!

picture of me talking on the phone.

Talking on the phone with a great friend. There won’t be many calls, but the few I can make are so very special 🙂

A painting done by Costa Rican artist Lola Fernandez.

A painting done by Costa Rican artist Lola Fernandez. This was one of my favorites.

Picture of me wearing a cat mask.

I decided to wear a cat mask 🙂

Learning patience, whether I like it or not.

It’s a Tuesday night. And I’m not getting ready for work. And I’m not making myself dinner. And I’m not doing laundry. Or paying bills. Or bathing the dog (which rarely happened anyway, what am I talking about…) And I’m not stressing about what’s next.

Instead what am I doing? I’m sitting on a patio (seemingly built for one) enjoying a fresh organic banana milkshake. I’m waiting for my vegetarian lasagna and caprese salad, and watching the hustle and bustle of San Jose’s rush hour traffic go by. …and there’s a Burger King next door, but let us forget about that 🙂

What’s important is that I am taking time for me. By myself. To really reflect on the past week of farm life. I came to San Jose to fix my computer (which doesn’t seem like it shall be fixed — but should I buy a new one?), and I’m deciding to stay a couple days to do ME.

The farm is tough work. Physically and mentally, a lot of strength goes into this process. The first couple of days were quite stressful and bewildering with always so much going on and it’s difficult to feel like it’s ok to NOT be moving when there’s always work to be done. But, I’ve had to remind myself, I’m here to learn and push myself, but I’m also here to focus on me and what it is I want out of life. Where do I fit in the big scheme of things?

In these past couple of days I was able to do more of the less labor-intensive work like cleaning and watering plants and checking to make sure everything is in working order… And shredding coconuts for three hours (seriously — what a new thing that was haha). But, I was still helping to keep the farm running and the people fed and happy, but I wasn’t kicking my own ass and wearing down my mind in the meantime. It’s been better. And I’ve been happier. And I love that.

But for me, for now, I’m still trying to put all the pieces together of the life I’ve lived until now and use that puzzle to hopefully make some sense of what I want to continue with and what I want to cut out and replace with better things.

For one, patience. I’ve realized in just one week that in the states we live in a very fast paced, high-production world. I’ve asked several times when learning a new thing, “Ok so how long should it take to do this?” Or “can we do this faster?” And, I’ve always been responded to with a simple, “however long it takes to do the best you can,” and “all we have is time.”  Such a different view, and one that I think we could all benefit from if we kept that in mind.

“however long it takes to do the best you can.”

Also, going from a remote farm in the middle of a jungle to a city like San Jose takes time. A lot of time. First, get a ride or walk (seriously) the 10-15 kilometers to the closest bus stop. Then take a bus about 1 hour to another bus stop. Then another bus to San Jose. Then walk to find a bus stop or a taxi. Then good luck finding your destination because addresses really don’t exist here. But… If there’s a will then there’s a way. And there’s no sense in rushing a process that requires its own pace… So, I’m learning and living patience.

I’ll be writing a couple more posts soon, so stay tuned. And let me know what you think I should do about writing (as in.. should I purchase a way to do that?).

A few of my favorite recent shots

Best friend - the basil plant.

Best friend – the basil plant.

The nicest produce stock picture.

The nicest produce stock picture.

beautiful costa rican view near puriscal

This is what the view was today. Amazing.

The simple things are the best. Like this "crema" I had today.

The simple things are the best. Like this “crema” I had today.