Splinters of Discontent


Both blessing and curse, to live is to want.  It is the sin and sanctity with which each of us is born, the thing which caused that first fall from grace, which inspired the creation of earth and mankind, which has begun every war in human history, which has enslaved millions, which has fueled rebellions, reformed religions, birthed leaders and tyrants alike, launched satellites, invented bombs, found cures for disease, started dynasties, and sent explorers across oceans and through the stars.  It is the one thing which both creates and destroys life.  We live, therefore we want.  To cease wanting is to die.  Or to reach a state of mind so like unto death that life itself ceases to have any real meaning.

For a long, long time I told myself there was nothing I wanted.  Life was safe and secure and I had all my needs met.  I sold myself the story that I was happy with my life: I had no lack, therefore I had no reason to be discontent.  I, thus, should have no want.  This was a lie.  I was employed.  I enjoyed the work I did and felt good about it.  My family was loving and I was accepted.  My friends were witty, fun, interesting, creative, diverse, and kind, and I was not lonely.  My home was comfortable.  My life was okay.  But me?  Ah, that’s the trouble; “me” was not okay.

I wanted something more.  I was frustrated with myself for being discontent, and tried to shut it down, but that’s impossible to do and continue living.  I didn’t want to consider what I really wanted, what was keeping me discontented, because then I’d have to risk something to get it.  I hid my want.  But it festered.  Like a splinter wedged deep under your skin unacknowledged want rots away, creates infection, causes pain, and eventually works its way to the surface, where you realize what a little thing it started out as and wish you’d known it was there earlier, before it caused all that throbbing ache.

So I festered, and soon my job, my friends, my life all ceased to bring me satisfaction.  I festered.  And then one morning I woke up, and there it was: the splinter of my discontent.  I was unchallenged and didn’t like the person I had become in denying my heart’s desires.  I’d loved teaching at first, but it was wearing thin and all I ever did was work.  There was no fulfillment in that for me as a person.  All the good, comfortable, safe elements in my life, how predictable and easy everything seemed to have become… I was bored and worn out and afraid of my own dreams.  My dream was adventure, or at least newness.  My want was passion and zest- things my predictable life had little of.

The question was: What would I do about it?  What would I change?  What would make my life less mundane and more fulfilling?

I quit my job.

I cashed in my safe, comfortable little retirement fund.

I packed up my life.

I said goodbye.

I went.

I am no longer bored or discontent.  Instead, I am living a life indulging my want of something new that encourages growth in my soul.  I’m not being stupid, not chasing certain death, but feeding my want what it…wants.  Something new.  Something different.  Something less ordinary and safe than the life a normal girl lives.  I’m giving myself a chance to grow rather than stuffing me into a box of security and predictability and calling it a day.  I’m giving my soul a chance to expand, to become a better version of myself, a happier, wiser, more worldly woman;  a woman who embraces life instead of keeping it at arms length.  It hasn’t been easy, and it won’t be smooth sailing, but my soul needs change and challenge to make me grow, my heart needs a chance to see what I can do.  It won’t ever be easy, but it will be worth it.

On my grave, may there one day be written:

Evie Marie Stewart

She Lived

My plan was to write a book  and get healthy in a way I hadn’t been able to be in a long time.  I knew I couldn’t stay where I was, and I didn’t even remotely want to.  I wanted to completely shake up my comfort zone, and so I rented a cabin, bought a plane ticket, and headed to Costa Rica, a world away from anything familiar.  I will never regret, and I’m not looking back!

Taking the First Steps

July 4, 2010

Leaving with the top down

I left for the first leg of my trip today.  Shiny black mustang goes fast!  It was fun to drive down to Orlando in style, although it rained most of the day so we couldn’t keep the top down.  Checked into our only so-so hotel (was cheap) then went out for food.  The little middle eastern restaurant we went to was fabulous!  If you’re ever in Orlando, go eat at King O’ Falafel on Hwy 192.

July 7, 2010

3 days, $4,000, 3 musty taxis, 3 crowded buses, learning to hate San Jose traffic (do these people not know what Alto means?!?), too much stress, 1 fast-talking Tican broker, 1 preacher selling a car, and I finally have my own wheels!  Wheew!  Too tired to load pictures tonight.  Will get some up tomorrow.

July 8, 2010

Riding Costa Rican style

Treated myself to some fantastic breakfast this morning and soon will be leaving in my newly-purchased 4X4  for my new house on the coast.  Yay!  It will be nice to settle in, unpack, and call myself ‘home.’

July 10, 2010

Whew!  Long day on Thursday driving to the coast, crossing the gulf on the ferry, driving the rather adventurous roads to the new house, finding my mapless way around.  Wow.  Friday was dedicated to a full (long) day of de-spidering and scrubbing the new house and unpacking my few things.  It’s small, but it’s got a great porch, a view of the ocean (on a clear day, through the trees), and privacy.  Pictures will come next post.  I will have a Costa Rican phone line and internet, but not for about 3 weeks yet.  Until then I’ll come into town and stop at an internet cafe every few days.

It’s not as hot here as I expected it to be and there’s been a great, cool breeze almost the whole time.

Everything is different here.  That’s what I wanted, of course, but it’s disconcerting for someone who’s so used to being completely competent all the time to actually not be sure how to navigate this new world.   I am rapidly shedding my sheltered, American naivete. Es muy bueno.

July 12, 2010

The ferry ride from Puntarenas to Paquera is a breezy hour-long float.

I promised pictures, and here they come!  The ferry was Thursday, on that LONG day of getting from the mainland to the southern end of the Nicoya peninsula where I live.  It was the only relaxing part of that day.

Leaving the mainland, Puntarenas ferry station

A massive chunk of rock in the middle of the Gulf of Nicoya

More chunks of rock, and islands dotting the gulf

My new house is wee, but cozy and lovely.

Walking up to my front door

The porch from the scary, steep driveway that I never use.

You can see the ocean next to the palm tree from my front porch- sort of

The front walk from the porch. I drive up the other side and park at the top of the hill.

A small backyard with a beautiful view (and suntea)

I'm surrounded by hybiscus and butterflies.

The Mayan version of a gargoyle protecting my front door greets you as you walk up.

My one bedroom. The living room and cocina