Life has taught me to be a little nervous when I’m really happy. I want to knock wood, or refuse to speak of it for fear the feeling will disappear. I remind myself of the Chinese peasant in The Good Earth who proclaims to the universe how ugly and un-special is the baby in her arms, for fear the gods will see the truth and take the baby away out of jealousy.
Why am I so happy? No, I’m not rich. But, like Irving Berlin wrote, and Ethel Merman sang:
Checking up on what I have and what I haven’t
What do I find?
A healthy balance on the credit side.
So, I have the sun in the morning and the moon at night, and great weather. Up here in Puriscal, Costa Rica, at 3,000 feet above sea level, the temperature averages between 63° and 81°, so we need neither heat nor air-conditioning. Electricity costs under twenty-five dollars a month.
Another reason for my happiness is that my life is calmer now that I’m retired. I loved my job teaching, but the stress was like having a construction zone in my head. Now it’s more like a symphony playing in the background while I read and write my way through each day.
Evenings, I devour Netflicks, watching all of the British period dramas and feel good movies I want free of commercial interruption. Because I have to, I clean the house, but only when we’re expecting company.
I’m sure that lots of women would shriek and run away from our house. There’s no hot water– 0nly a suicide shower, a contraption that heats the water on contact. Between ten and four, depending on the season, we have hot water in the kitchen. That’s because Jack installed a hose on the roof, so the sun heats up the water.
We have no dishwasher, except me, no garbage disposal or clothes dryer. No neighbors, no traffic, no leaf-blowers, no noise pollution. No TV. That means no advertising, no reminders about what we need to be happy.