My brother joked with me before I left the states that I’d probably go completely bananas with so much free time on my hands here.  He’s made fun of me for years for my incessant avoidance of boredom by finding more work to do.  I’m well known as a manic workaholic- for 7 years of teaching I put in 6o+ hours a week between classroom time, staying late, and grading papers at home, and I still managed to squeeze in a monthly Saturday of volunteering at Maclay Gardens, was involved in church, and spent time with friends, too.  I never stopped going and doing and busying myself.  I wore myself out, burned my candle ’til there weren’t ends left to light, made myself sick with it all, and eventually called it quits.  Thus: Costa Rica and novel writing.  I didn’t worry that I’d be bored- I was so tired that boredom had actually become appealing.  Right until I spent 3 months in an area where there’s nothing to do but hike and swim.

A real, live baby pineapple growing in a garden.

The first month after I settled in was great; everything was new, fresh, and exciting and I set a routine for writing that kept me tapping away most of the day.  I was flush with inspiration and enthusiasm and the words just came pouring out.  But then my hiking and beaching got old- I’d been to the same places a dozen times and the shine had worn off.  I have no TV, and my internet is too slow to be able to tune in to things on line.  There are no concerts, movies, or events to attend here and I’m not really a bar-scene kind of girl.  Soon boredom set in, fiercely.  I felt the edges of depression pushing in on me, and I began to find it hard to write.   This worried me.  I’m here to be a writer but if I can’t write…   I began to question whether or not I was up to this challenge.  I began to ache to go home, back to my old life where at least I was too  busy to feel depression or boredom or loneliness.

But I’m stubborn- I came here to do something, and I don’t want to just give up.  So I signed up to volunteer at Rainsong, and last week I took off to San Vito to get a change of scenery, and you know what?  Today I wrote.  Today I did not feel nervous with the silence of Montezuma.  Today I felt inspired and capable about this writing thing.  Today I did not wish to go home.  Now I get it.  I need not ‘all the time in the world’ to write, but a balance.  I need some responsibility, some civilization, some change, some peace and quiet, some scheduled work, some freedom: I need to be expected places and to see people and I need to have time set aside for writing, too.  Balance- that’s the key.  Not complete freedom, but balance.  I can’t go and do all the time, but I can’t do nothing, either.

Now the question remains: how do I get and keep that balance?