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Saturday, August 13, 2022

How I learned ‘The Art Of Doing Nothing’ in Costa Rica

Back in India, when people used to ask me if I was a Beach person or a Mountain person, I always replied “Mountain, definitely! I get bored at the beach.”

Come 2021, and I find myself in Costa Rica! Married, and living with my husband who works for a company in Costa Rica.

With the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Atlantic ocean to the east, Costa Rica has 1290 km of coastline. 1016 km on the pacific coast and 212 km on the Atlantic coast. Naturally, there are many beaches here (more than 600). And hence, a lot of beach trips!

On my first few trips to the beach, I was bored and restless. I was always looking for what to do next! I came back disappointed.

I decided to change this! I started to observe the locals on the beach – what they wear, what they do, and what they eat. I noticed that when they come to the beach (which they do very often), they bring chairs, beach towels, umbrellas, coolers, drinks, snacks (and of course their big smiles), and sit for hours doing ‘nothing’.

And then, it dawned upon me! Costa Ricans have mastered the ‘art of doing nothing‘!

There is a reason why Costa Rica ranks high on the Happiness Index and is one of the happiest countries in the world. ‘Pura Vida’ which literally means pure life or simple life is not just a saying here, it’s a way of life. It’s imbibed in the country’s culture and the people’s attitude.

There is also an Italian saying ‘dolce far niente’ which means sweet idleness or pleasantly doing nothing. But we, Indians, are far from that!

We are always in a rush. Whether it’s planning the next activity, going to our offices, making our way through crowds, crossing the roads, making transactions at the store, or cooking at home, seldom is our mind at rest.

But here in Costa Rica, I was presented with an opportunity to change. It was time for me to inculcate the beautiful ‘Pura Vida’ attitude of the Ticos. It was time to learn ‘to be where you are’.

I am a changed person now!

Now, when I go to the beach, I take my sweet time packing the night before. I pack a beach towel, a swimsuit, snacks, drinks, games, and everything else I would need to make the most out of my beach trip.

I sit for hours, munch on my snacks, lie down on the sand thinking of nothing, have light conversations with my husband and friends, play games, and take a dip in the ocean. I have, now, started to enjoy the slow and quiet time.

What if I told you that doing nothing can be fun too! Your day does not have to be packed with action. You do not have to rush around to make it fruitful.

So, what can you do today to begin ‘doing nothing’?

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