Each day it was getting harder for me to scrape up the energy to get out of bed in the morning while living in the San Jose area of Costa Rica; frustrations kept building up inside me until I felt like I was about to explode.
Living in Heredia, it was an entire day trip to go to a meeting on the other side of town and then back home after which I had to answer the 50 emails that had come in while I was away and then attack the nightly newspaper publish. Going on walks in the evenings around the town I lived in just brought back memories of Priscilla. These walks that were intended on clearing my head actually would leave me angry inside. I felt trapped and that there was no escape from the dark cloud hanging over my life.
I tried going to visit Priscilla’s grandmother to bring compassion and love back into my life. What used to be a happy trip to Abuela’s now left me with a feeling of dread. I knew that there was no chance to see Priscilla and the pain of walking into that kitchen to share a cup of coffee was now too much to bear. I would place a false smile upon my face but I knew that the woman who cared deeply about me saw through the facade. The pain in my eyes could not be hidden.
After pushing through another miserable visit with the grandmother of the girl I still loved, I knew as I walked home that day it would most likely be the last time that I saw her. It was unhealthy for me to continue to try to have a relationship with anyone in Priscilla’s family as all it did was cause pain to both my heart and mind. Ironically it began to rain on the way home and by the time I had arrived at the door to my apartment, I was drenched and mentally exhausted. Trying to pretend like you are happy drains you.
On that day I began to shut down my heart and put a protective shell around it. I am sure everyone goes through that after the end of a relationship but I honestly just wanted to focus on work and forget about interpersonal relationships for a while. I had a new found dedication to trying to make money and become successful in business. It was time to make a final push for success in the land of Pura Vida and to try to let go of the past.
Each day it was early to bed and early to rise. My focus on the newspaper was revived and I found joy in the writing. The shipping company began to pay commissions as the containers and cars started coming to port on a regular basis. Advertisers began contacting me for ad space on the Costa Rican Times. I obtained 3 more SEO clients from recommendations and referrals. It seemed that everything was finally coming together.
With financial stability comes a sense of peace. I did not have that voice in the back on my head asking me if I would have enough money for rent next month. I was able to go out and eat (although alone) and not worry if I could afford it. I was able to buy a few things for myself…new shoes, a bike, and other little items for myself to reward a good week. I could spend an afternoon each week going downtown to play pool and walk around the San Jose area to see the sites. I started taking Fridays off as a mental health day to recharge my mind and batteries.
Although the business part of my life was finally going well I still felt like there was something missing. Priscilla and I would trade cold emails about once every two weeks. She would lie to me, I would know she was lying and then I would feel like shit for about 24 hours. It was a masochistic cycle that never seemed to end. I knew that I should not stay in contact with her, but something kept me holding on. With the business part of my life in order I began to think I needed to start dating or at least go out again with a member of the female species. There was a problem though - I was still in love with Priscilla. There was no chance of any relationship actually working.
The first girl I went out with was a girl that used to work in my office back in the days before the open heart surgery. She was gorgeous, sweet and actually liked me. After flirting with her for about 3 months I finally got her to agree to go out with me. She came over and I cooked dinner after which we got about half way through a movie before turning to making out. Although it was nice there was no spark between us. She also wanted to talk about having another child and if I wanted to get married. The best way to scare off a guy is to talk about those things on a first date. But one thing I have learned about Latina women is that they are very direct when it comes to relationships and telling men what they want. I guess my answer that I never wanted children and that I did not know if I wanted to get married was all she needed to hear. We kept in touch but it was obvious it was not going to go anywhere. After this night I closed my heart a little more.
I knew however that it was time for me to escape this small town and get out of the San Jose area. In my mind there were several reasons why I did not move to the beach. I wanted to be in the San Jose area in case I needed to get a job as it is easy to find one in the area. I stayed in the area because I wanted to be able to get to meetings easily if they came up. I stayed in my small town because it was safe to walk around at night. I stayed in San Jose to be closer to the main hospitals. There was a problem though, all these reasons never really came into play.
My job was from home and I did not need to try to find a new job. If I ever got to a point where I needed to get a job at an office then I would just go back to the USA. Secondly, I never had meetings except for like twice a month and getting from Heredia to anywhere takes about 2 hours, which is about the same distance from Jaco. Thirdly, I do not think I went out walking at night more than about 3 times in the 2 years I lived there. Finally, although the hospitals are closer and more convenient to get to in the San Jose area, let’s just be honest. If something went wrong with my heart I was probably going to die no matter where I was, so I might as well be somewhere that had the ocean. Also, being around all those places brought back memories that tore me up inside each and every day.
The question was where was I going to go? I needed a plan and an escape route. Then out of the blue one appeared. I was offered an opportunity to partner up with a guy in the Jaco/Hermosa area to help with lead generation and marketing for his company. I was going to be able to continue all of my other jobs and just add this on to my work hours. As it is with most people change scared me a little. By taking this on, I was finally admitting that any hope for Priscilla and I to be together was completely dead. My mind already knew that but it is always hard to convince your heart. So what is the best way to try to convince yourself you are over someone? That’s right - hook up with someone else.
When I started chatting with Lisa I was actually interested in trying to start and have a relationship. She lived in the USA and was moving down into the area in which I lived. We text messaged back and forth and really got along great, but I knew there was no way it was going to work out. She was what I needed to transition from San Jose to the beach. She was that one last fling to convince myself that I was ready to leave and move on.
After about 4 weeks of chatting to each other online and a few phone calls she was headed down to Costa Rica on a flight. Little did she know that even before she landed my heart had been almost completely hardened. Although beautiful, smart, and funny there was no way it was going to work out. I had gotten into a focused mode where work and making money was all that mattered.
The next three weeks with her would be just what I needed to let go, pack my things and leave. She showed me that the only way I was going to get better was by being alone for a while. The three weeks I spent with Lisa finally opened my eyes to a new life and a future I had stopped envisioning.
Stress & A Move to the Beach