“There are two ways to be happy: improve your reality, or lower your expectations”
―Jodi Picoult, Nineteen Minutes
Yesterday, a friend sent me a link to this article: Migration in the Americas. The first comment asked about the cost of living in Nicaragua, so I responded with information and a link to my blog. Throughout the day, I watched as the hits to my blog steadily climbed. By the end of the day, I had received more than 3,700 hits. Why? Is it because people are desperate to fulfill dreams of sipping margaritas under gently swaying palm trees, while watching the ocean waves lap at the doors of their tiki huts? Is it because of frustration and economic despair that life has so rudely thrust in their paths?
Comments ranged from curious to hopeful, and on the other end of the spectrum, from hateful to distorted with many bitter political viewpoints. Are we all doomed because we dream of a better life with great expectations? Are we fearful of improving our reality or are we expecting too much out of life?
We moved to Nicaragua without too many expectations, for I have learned that great expectations lead to great disappointments. Life has not been easy here. We knew better than to expect an idyllic lifestyle surrounded by margaritas with those cute little umbrellas poked into frosty glasses. Instead, we learned to take one day at a time, and improve our reality without playing the blame game.
I am not a victim of my circumstances. I consciously chose a simple, culturally immersed lifestyle and deal with the challenges it presents every moment of every day. As a result, I’m happy and fulfilled because I chose to be realistic and live without great expectations. Not that I lowered my expectations..I don’t agree with that part at all. I simply don’t have expectations. For me, life is easier without them.
Life in Nicaragua can be described with the Big Brother motto, “Expect the Unexpected.” After building a house in the worst flood in 60 years, encountering daily power and water outages, discovering that I have a severe allergic reaction to ant bites, a frustratingly slow internet, and watching my close friends commit suicide out of hopelessness and despair…I am still here. Why? Because this is….my life…one day at a time.