Living in the Present in Costa Rica

Laurel Dispenza is a student at Olivet Nazarene University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Laurel is currently studying abroad with ISA in Heredia, Costa Rica.

Paraíso de Cartago

Over this past year there has been a theme of walking forward, of coming to the present moment so that you can receive all that it has to offer. Not living in a land of would have/should have/could have, but instead embracing what is. Since arriving in Costa Rica, it has been a constant fight to stop the “what if’s” and instead see the splendor of what is. With questions plaguing my mind, from the location I’m in and the program I chose to truth and reality and if they can be known, I have found that staying in the sea of “what if’s” is a good way to grow cold and stagnant.

There is such magnificence enveloping me in this stunning place of rich experiences and raw beauty, but I cannot receive them when I’m looking backwards, the “what if” robbing me of fullness of life. I cannot change the past, but I can learn from it and use it to advise those in the future who may encounter those same challenges. And since I cannot go backwards in time, today I will choose to walk forward, embracing the present in this life that is mine. I will recognize that there could have been a better decision, for nearly everything, but I cannot live the perfect life, so I can either wallow in the strife of regret or I can recognize it. Studying in Costa Rica is an experience that will never be repeated, so I have a choice to let the hypothetical rob me of that joy or to humble myself and open my eyes to the beauty of reality of unimaginable size.  So as I walk forward I will encounter the beauty of this country. I will learn immensely from each person I meet, presently surprised by their amiability. I will see around me both new things and old, and I will walk forward in expectation of the life that this adventure will hold.

Stairs to unknown
Stairs to the unknown in Costa Rica

Yesterday I was drowning in a sea of regret, but today I’m learning both to swim and to fly, gaining a new and magnificent perspective of both what’s under the sea and the beauty I can see from the sky. This “what if” beast lost its grip on me as soon as I turned the other way and began to walk forward. I’m not saying it will be easy, but I will say that it will be worth it. So today I will not drown, but I will walk into Costa Rica and soak in all that it has.

mountain 1
Paraíso de Cartago

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