After arriving at the beach I was speaking to a friend of mine while we were watching the sunset over the ocean and we were discussing “The American Dream vs. Living the Dream.” Each of us would see the babies being born, the weddings being held, and all of the friends and people from our past accomplishing the dream that society in the United States pushes on you.
So many people are brought up in the USA thinking about how in order to be happy and follow the rules laid down by modern day society you need the 2.5 kids, the house you are paying the mortgage on, the car you are paying the monthly payments on, and all the other items that increase the amount of debt you incur each month. Most people are putting on that suit and tie, fighting an hour of traffic both to and from their place of employment and headed to a job they do not like that much in order to finance this way of life. Then 2 to 3 weeks a year they get to take a vacation which is normally spent dragging the entire family to a place that ends of being more stressful than just staying home for a week and rejuvenating their body.
Yes I know this does not apply to everyone and for those reading this and say well I have money so I have no idea what you are talking about, this is more directed to the 85 to 90% of the USA that will work until the day they die and never really experience life. How many people living in the USA truly are happy? It seems to me that they are always chasing the materialistic image that is pushed by society and media, which is always portrayed as being happy. So many people because of the debt they incurred while going to college or graduate school or post graduate school are locked into a system that sees them as an entity instead of a person. The last thing the USA wants is for you to realize that your social security number is like a number on a prison inmate’s uniform. Your sentence is to spend your life working and chasing a dream that has long since vanished for everyone except for an elite group that already has money and power in American society.
The American Dream in my mind is an idea that suggests that anyone in the US can succeed through hard work and has the potential to lead a happy, successful life. I think that the American dream still exists but perhaps just not in the USA.
The entire time that I had been living in Costa Rica everyone always told me that they were 20 years behind the USA when it comes to technology and in general how business is accomplished between its borders. 20 Years ago in the USA opportunities abounded for those that were in the IT field when it came to dot coms and internet marketing. Take a look at the way people continue to try to market their businesses in Costa Rica. It is like taking a trip back to the 90’s. Considering you will hear80’s and 90’s music almost every time you get into a taxi in Costa Rica, I guess this should not have surprised me.
The biggest problem in Costa Rica is not having the talent to make money by working hard, it is the ability to show your trustworthiness and gain the confidence in clients that you are going to do what you say you are going to do. Being that so many people in Costa Rica are just out to make that quick dollar and people backstab and lie all the time, there is a reason why it is so hard to gain someone’s trust. More than once I had clients for my SEO services refuse because of previous experiences where people would promise to do things and would not live up to their words on what they said they are going to do.
Although it had taken me a couple of years being sober and showing by actions that I was not the person I used to be, I had finally started getting the reputation as a person that did what he said he was going to do. When I was drinking the lies would always flow out of my mouth; to my friends, to my family, and in business. I would say whatever I thought someone would want to hear to try to gain their trust and to hide who I really was. When you are a practicing alcoholic your life revolves around telling lies and thinking to yourself that others believe you. Truth be told everyone around you knows you are lying and it is only a matter of time before you push them all away. It was the reason I spent 3 months in a hospital with no one there.
After being forced to put down the bottle I realized that there was a lot I needed to do to try to regain the trust of people in my life. There was a long road ahead of me to do that but the key was always doing what I said I was going to do. I had to fight to rebuild my image in the eyes of others as well as try to fight through the fact that almost every person you deal with in business in Costa Rica has been screwed over by someone and they expect you are going to do the same thing.
With all that being said, Costa Rica is a great place to chase what I like to call the “New American Dream.” It is being able to work your own hours, enjoy your job, base your income on the work that you put into it and find happiness in the ability to actually enjoy day to day life. How many people can actually say that they are able to do this in the USA? You may never be able to make a million dollars in Costa Rica working in the country in ethical jobs but isn’t the point of life to enjoy life instead of worrying about how many toys you obtained?
How much money do you really need? I had already decided at age 36 that kids were out of the question. I did not want to be close to 60 years old and attending my child’s high school graduation. That was the only reason I ever really stressed about income, trying to provide a good life for my son or daughter. With that out the window there was only a need to chase my own dreams. I was never going to accomplish enough in the eyes of family, and I had let that go. Once you start living for yourself instead of others, you can finally start being yourself and being true to what your heart wants you to follow in life.
I had in a matter of about a year and a half created the 3rd most read online newspaper in Costa Rica. I had started a successful SEO business with several high end clients. I was marketing 5 other websites and was making enough money to have a pretty relaxing life in Costa Rica. Even though it had taken 16 to 18 hour days of work to accomplish this the opportunity for someone to accomplish the same success in Costa Rica was out there.
The best part is being able to actually enjoy life while living in Costa Rica, especially at the beach. If you are trapped in San Jose at an office job barely getting by and having to fight traffic each and every day to and from work then you might not understand what I am talking about. However if you are able to set up shop on the sand by the ocean then it is another story.
I was still putting in the hours but I had cut back to about 10 to 12 hours a day. But since I could set my own hours those hours could be accomplished whenever I wanted during the day. I was able to work for 5 hours in the morning from 7 am until noon and then enjoy then entire afternoon. This could consist of playing pool at a local bar in Jaco, going for a bike ride to Hermosa, or just taking an afternoon nap in my bed or on the beach. After enjoying the afternoon it would be $1 fish or chicken tacos at the Backyard Bar in Hermosa to watch the sunset and have an early dinner. Finally after getting into relaxed mode I would return to my house to put in another 4 to 5 hours of work to wrap up the day. The work was getting done and I was finally finding my smile on a daily basis.
Now that I was living a dream life in Costa Rica it was time to focus on the next big project and to try to prove that with hard work anything was possible. I was off to prove that the ‘American Dream” and “Living the Dream” could be accomplished in the same place at the same time.
What was the best way to pass on my new found vision on life to others…Welcome interns!
Next Up – An Intern Program