Going with the gut is not something I was taught to do. My parents and other adults preached thinking things through and making logical decisions. Over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that making life decisions based on logic has pretty much failed me. Like majoring in Economics because it was practical (I hated it, got crappy grades and it did little more than feed a failure complex).
On the flip side of the coin is Trish. There was no logic to falling in love – that was pure gut. (No comment on anything else, I, um, felt at the time…) The biggest and best decision of my life – who to spend all of it with – was not thought out or reasoned. And it’s the one thing that turned out damn near perfect. I have a hazy memory of my first ever kiss, but I remember the first kiss with Trish as clear as day. Even then I knew I wanted to tell my kids about it. Of course, it would have to be our kids because someone else wouldn’t want me rhapsodizing about a kiss with an ex. But I digress.
The whole notion of living a fulfilling life has been on my mind a lot this year, culminating this summer in the epiphany that we had to make an active choice to move to Costa Rica instead of just tossing it around as a hopeful scenario. It was something came from the heart instead of a list of pros and cons. Almost immediately it seemed that life changed, because now there was something really meaningful to work towards. I think Trish would agree with that.
At the end of summer I read an article in the NY Times about gut reactions. It made sense to me (yes, I do see some logic creeping in…), and I went with another gut reaction – splitting from my business partner. I had numerous logical reasons why having a partner was good but in the end I went with a gut feeling I’d ignored for months, that I just wanted to do my own thing. My former partner and I had become good friends over the past 2 years, so the split was amicable, and we continue to have a good relationship. It seems coincidental, but business has improved for me since then and he’s had some very positive changes occur too.
I’m trying to look at Costa Rica the same way. There’s no doubt I want to be there – I think about it every day (being in weather 40 degrees cooler makes that easy ;-). The question is where. We went to the Caribbean and felt it was too far and isolated, with nothing besides nature and a small population, to live in. It was … a logical decision, and I knew in the back of my mind that I didn’t want to make a logical decision. We basically have to decide the First Place to Live based on little more than first impressions. There’s no way to really know a place without spending some time living there, so all we really have is either the gut or logic.
Logic says we should live in the Central Valley, close to More People and the ability to get Things. Where there are More Expats, more Things To Do and where we can ease into Life In a Strange Land.
But when I think about Costa Rica, the first place I really want to go back to is the Caribbean coast. Where it’s hot, with beautiful beaches and monkeys up the wazoo. I loved the monkeys and want monkeys wherever we live. When I think more about the Places I Just Plain Liked, that’s the Caribbean coast and the Northern Plain (north of Ciudad Quesada). In fact, I kept remarking how the Northern Plains reminded me of the Caribbean Coast. Hotter with fewer people and places.
Even M feels it – he mentioned in the week before we left that he wished ‘we were back at the Crab House.’ The things that bothered me at the time have some remedies. Heat can be combatted with a decent fan, which we lacked. And either a pool or close proximity to a beach. Bugs could be lessened with both a decent fan and good screens. The distance and isolation? Well, we would just have to lead a simpler life. I suppose it would be like Little House on the Prairie in a jungle 🙂
(props to Judy Gill for titling her blog ‘Little House in the Jungle‘)