Tico time & pura vida
Trying really hard to get my brain & body back into family, commitment & work mode. It ain’t there yet. After being back in the States for three weeks, I’m still mentally on Tico time…and if I’m completely honest, I kinda prefer it.
What is Tico Time?
Calendars & clocks seem to mean very little in Costa Rica and yet things get done. And people appear much happier in general. Why do we in the States push against this concept so much? Why is everything rush rush rush to get done? Does that email REALLY have to be written right now or could we take a moment to look out the window and appreciate the rain that’s falling? Why do we feel like an 8-hour work day is the most productive or efficient way to accomplish our jobs? For the sake of argument, will it really make a difference if I work a full 8 hours Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and…you get it. What if I did 4 hours Monday and 12 Tuesday and then a couple 6 hours days…and maybe take Friday off – simply because all my work is done and nothing else really has a deadline. That kind of schedule would work better for my sanity and creativity and family. The work is still done, clients still get what they want and I’m much happier in the long run.
The same goes for my kids in school – will they know something LESS if they turn a project in on Monday instead of Friday? Will the whole system fall apart if we skip an allergy appointment to go to the park or stay home to play chess instead of going to a sports practice? What if they just want a mental health day and miss a science test – will that really keep them from becoming an architect or a lawyer…or even a scientist? I really don’t think so!
Finding Pura Vida in the States
A simple phrase that seems to be the pervading theme in Costa Rica is “Pura Vida”. A literal translation is “Pure Life”. But I think it means so much more than that. I think it’s really about living a full life – that life is the sole reason for living. That it is the sole reason to BE.
I see the speeding cars on the highway from my office window and I wonder where they’re all heading in such a hurry. (Granted, I like to drive fast, that’s part of my own personal pura vida, but rarely do I actually NEED to go fast.) Five, ten minutes late, will it really throw off someone else’s day that much? And if it will, maybe that’s an issue in their life, not mine.
For me, Pura Vida is really just not letting the little things worry you, taking things as they come, and enjoying all you can from what you’re immersed in. I’m finding that I’m less worried about how my actions will appear to others and more about how they impact me. Is doing something or not doing something going to make me a happier, better, calmer person? Or have I been so worried about how others might react, how they might be offended or upset by something I say or do, that I’ve been untrue to myself? Because in the long run, if I can’t be happy and true to myself, I can’t truly help anyone else. I think it’s time to really look for my Pura Vida and make some changes in many aspects of my life.
What do you think?
XO – T.