As I sat there on the beach, I still felt like there was something missing in my life. Was it love? Was it companionship? Was it just more money? Was it a family? I did not understand why I could not just be content with what I had currently in my life. There was still something causing me unhappiness in my life.
When going through life there a few times when you can look back and say there was truly a crossroads where you could there were two paths which you could take. Although you could not see in the day you decided to make that choice, hindsight makes the life decision seem clear as day. I was still holding onto the past, although I had tried to convince my mind that I had let everything go, the memories still crept into my daily thoughts from time to time.
As much as I was holding onto to the pain in my past, I knew the only way that I would ever be able to start living my life was to let it all go and start concentrating on myself. As selfish as it sounds I had to forget about everyone else for a while and just concentrate on myself. There is the old adage you cannot be happy in life unless you are happy with yourself. I could still not grasp the concept of being happy with whom I was.
I think my biggest problem was that I let things around me dictate my mood and my emotional state. For anyone that has lived in Costa Rica, drama and gossip surround you each and every day. It irritates me when people do stupid things and I feel like I should say or do something. Unfortunately, nothing you do really has any effect on those around you, especially in a town like Jaco where the partying and idiotic behavior will try to bring you down every day if you let it.
Gandhi said “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it”
Throughout life I have been one of those people that wanted to try to fix problems and try to fix people. I think that is ironic being that the one person that I really needed to fix was myself. From the age of 15 I had been using alcohol as an escape from reality, but was reality all that bad? Ever since I had quit drinking I had to live in reality everyday and although there were a lot of ups and downs, I realize that is a part of life. It is a battle each day to keep a positive attitude and it can be attained if you do not let the problems of the world continually bring you down.
On the road of life that I had been travelling, I let the drama of those people around me become an internal problem for myself. I had let Priscilla’s abusive relationship become my abusive relationship. I had let people’s unethical behavior affect me to think that all people were thieves and liars. As I read the news each day for my job I had seen all the pain, racism, and hate in the world; it made me angry to think about why people were like that and why people would do that to others? All of the drama and all of the negativity became internalized in myself and caused me to emit it to others. If you want to drive people away I guarantee that this is the best way to do it.
The fact is, as you get older and have gone through so many life experiences, it is hard for any of us to actually change. In most cases after the age of 30 there has to be an extreme incident or near death experience for a person to change their mannerisms and in some cases this does not even work. The only time a person changes is when they want to do so themselves…period.
Does this mean that you should not give advice or try to help a person in need? No, I am not saying that. I am saying that some people do not want to change and after a while that energy you are using to try to help someone can turn into anger and frustration when it is for someone that does not really want your help or that really does not want to change.
For example, I spent months trying to understand why Priscilla would marry a person 20 years older than her, that emotionally abused her, that had nothing in common with her and that made her cry on a weekly basis, but the fact of the matter is, that is who she wanted to be with for better or for worse. When she signed those marriage papers no one had a gun to her head, she did so on her own free will and if she wanted to get out of the situation she would do it on her own. Although I wanted to remain her friend because of everything we had gone through together, it was not possible as you cannot go from having feelings of “love” to the friend zone except with time and finding someone else.
That is what is so great about life – free will. You have the right to do what you want with your life and you can live it however you want. If you want to get up in the morning and drink all day you can do that. If you want to marry someone that makes you miserable you can do that. If you want to not work and live on the street, it’s a choice. There are so many people around us that will tell us this is the way you should live life, these are the dreams you should follow, this is the only way that you can find happiness, but the truth is, they are all wrong. The only way a person should live life is on their own terms and following whatever they want to do. Along the way you are going to learn life lessons that will shape your path and decide which direction you will head. We only change our ways by learning from our mistakes and experiences that we go through.
I see so many of the people I grew up with that are still in our same hometown. They are married to people that we went to school with growing up. They travel about 2 weeks a year but they have remained in the same bubble their entire life. I never understood how they could not venture out and see the world as there is so much to take in, so many different cultures, so much that can shape your view and help you see the world in a different way. I think in most cases, it is a fear of the unknown and stepping outside of their comfort zone. It used to affect me and almost make me angry that these people could have such ethnocentric views of the world but the truth is, it does not matter and should not cause you a second thought. That second thought is time and energy that you should not waste on them.
I think the key is to let a person or situation go when it starts personally affecting you. If their problems start to feel like they are becoming your problems then let them go and let them fight their own battles because beating your head against a wall over and over again will just cause you pain and frustration. The conundrum you will face though is knowing who is truly reaching out and needs your help and who is just a person wanting to drag you into their drama.
For me it was time to make a decision in life. I could continue down the same path where I let myself internalize the world around me or I could create my own world where the difficulties in the lives around me no longer affected my psyche, and the problems of those that did not truly want to escape the pain they were currently in were no longer my problem.
The road of life heads through some dark forests and there is danger and evil on both sides which you can become a part of if you venture off the path and into the woods. The key is to continue down the safe path in the middle and if someone wants to join you on your venture they will come out and start walking with you themselves.