Culture, General

A Sensible Happiness

Esta publicación también está disponible en: Español

As Ticos, our happiness is so unshakeable that we’re capable of getting used to anything and keep smiling; nothing can anger us enough to take away the happiness we cling to with such passion.

We have gotten used to seeing razor wire along house walls, condominiums looked after by armed guards, anti-theft security cameras and sensors even in pulperias, and criminals who are also happy, because they’ve been released several hours after being arrested. We’ve gotten used to listening to news of assault, murder and rape as if it’s a discussion of potatoes and squash. Our happiness is so immune to these situations that we even joke about them when possible. 

We have gotten used to losing hours of our lives in traffic, using inefficient public transportation, or in the case of rural areas, inhaling dust during the summer and crossing muddy holes in winter.

We are used to seeing beggars, drug addicts and children at risk on the streets. Those who are alone, hungry, barefooted, cold; those who are sad while we are so happy. It is as if we have cut the cord that connects our eyes with our brain and heart.

We have gotten used to paying taxes; in addition to paying for education, health and private security, in Nosara’s case, we also have to finance a portion of infrastructure. And if you can’t pay for private services, you’re also happy waiting in line at the CCSS, or knowing that in your child’s school the English teacher doesn’t know how to speak English, that the maestra has the worst possible spelling and handwriting, and the math teacher will not be able to get your kids interested in the subject.

We have gotten used to family outings being a walk through the mall, to the most popular soap operas being about handsome drug traffickers, and to unhealthy diets – we continue to be the happiest overweight people in the world.

Lord help anyone who complains. As a Tico you’re obligated to be happy. It’s our innate condition, and if you say anything about it, you are offending the founders of our country. Don’t look at the 20% of Ticos who live in poverty, alone and abandoned, without opportunity to move up.

Focus on the 80% that are not poor. Look how they rob and squander public money; do not look at the way they administer natural resources in an unfair way. Don’t look at the polluted rivers, or the species that have gone extinct; don’t look at manipulation in indigenous communities; don’t look at the injustices done to small farmers. Look at the poverty, corruption and destruction of natural resources in other Central American countries, but not at the poverty in neighborhoods to the south of San Jose, which are insignificant compared to the beauty of our volcanoes.

I do not know where we got this wonderful, always-happy attitude; it has to be in our genes. Surely our capacity to mold ourselves and get used to any circumstance allows us to continue being happy, come what may.

I propose that we continue to be the happiest country and that we take advantage of the capacity to get used to anything, so that our happiness also MAKES SENSE.

I propose that we get used to recognizing the country’s problems, realizing that they exist and looking for solutions. Let’s get used to participating in communal groups for social well-being, public administration, environmental protection, for youths, adults, and the old. 

Let’s get used to touching soil, to planting, to walking through forests, and learning about our species, rivers, volcanoes, hills, and flatlands.

Let’s get used to eating fruits during their harvest time, to reading labels at the supermarket, to having a home garden, to recycling.

Let’s get used to learning about our culture, traditions, history, and legends; not only in books but also through observing our daily lives; our great virtues and old defects.

Let’s get used to using clean energy, walking or using a bicycle for transportation, to turning off the air conditioning and opening the windows.

Let’s get used to insisting on good treatment at the municipality, in the EBAIS, on the bus or at the bank, that our entire population should get a good public education, that more public students pass their university admission exams, that there are more technical and specialized high schools. Let’s get used to denouncing public employees who don’t fulfill their duties, those who ask for bribes, those who have forgotten that we’re the ones who pay their salaries. Let’s get used to trams, trains and metros, to being able to easily board public transportation with a baby or in a wheelchair. To having paved roads, sidewalks, bicycle paths, enduring bridges, tunnels and canals.

Let’s get used to not tolerating corruption and cracking the shell of politicians who don’t even feel shame for it.

Those who work in the public sector should be brilliant, apply what they know, and not be afraid of standing out, whistleblowing, or asking for what they need to work well. They should write, tell what’s happening from the inside and not continue working with bad resources or mediocre people. They should be demanding in what they do; it’s only a question of habit.

Let’s get used to living in security, to demanding that criminals are locked up so they live behind bars and not us.

Let’s get used to discussing and studying public problems, looking for solutions, and listening to all positions, all ideas and being critical of our current situation.

Let’s get used to the peace in which we live being real, to justice being strict, to our fame as a green country being true, and to our happiness making sense.