February 28, 2014

An Everyday View from Belize



There are a multitude of perks that come with life in Belize. 

Instant access to the ocean. 
Instant access to organic and farm fresh food. 
Instant access to an abundance of time starring at a “page loading” Internet screen.

When the Internet runs slowly…you begin to re-prioritize your life. You ask questions like, “Do I really care about this music video?” or “Is it worth it to look up what I missed on XYZ TV show last night?” Or, to be a little more honest, “Do I really need to be online shopping when I know I won’t buy these clothes?”

That’s what I am doing right now, for your information. H&M has my favorite basic t-shirts for such great prices…I can’t help but get a little click happy with the “add to cart” button. Yet…the World Wide Web seems convinced that I don’t need any more basic t-shirts…and I am forced to wait long periods of time between clicks.

As I sit here, drinking a cup of iced coffee, which is mostly milk and Bailey’s creamer, I am reevaluating the time I spend looking over useless things on the Internet. Since we’ve moved to Belize, I have spent much more time then usual planning what clothes to buy and sifting through online stores. This is partially out of preparation for our more permanent move to Belize, because in the almost seven weeks we have lived here I have realized that I need a few more choice items. However, I think that main reason why I have been trolling the Internet is for some sort of connection to “home”. As if, by seeing pictures of daily items from the States, I am somehow a part of their production. I don’t miss the traffic and the daily grind of consumerism…but I do miss the convenience and instant access to whatever your little heart may desire.

In Belize, the wants and the needs have been clarified just a little…to the point that even the needs have begun to seem less necessary.  I want what I don’t have, and I recognize this. I want to go buy a new pair of shorts, and it would be very easy to say that I “need” them in Belize, but really, I just want them. I want some hiking boots, but really, I know that my running shoes will work just fine. I have no opportunity to act on these wants and needs without serious deliberation and planning… which means that suddenly, I see myself for what I am: a habitual consumer.

This blog post isn’t here to trash consumerism or supermarkets or anything like that. It’s simply an insight into my own habits. Life in recent days has peeled back any sort of veil that I have used to trick myself into thinking that I am in “need” of anything. Rather, simplicity has become normal and it is beautiful.

I am learning just how easily I fall into the trap of the latest and brightest toys. And by toys, I mean shoes. Yet, that’s not the lifestyle I want to live. I want to shun the materialistic attitude and become accustomed to a lifestyle that doesn’t feel the need to measure up to anybody else. No one in Belize cares if you wear designer clothes. No one here looks at your hair and thinks you’re a little bit of a mess today…because we’re all a little bit of a mess everyday. It’s humid outside and you never know when you'll hop in the ocean for an afternoon swim.

I guess what I’m really trying to say is that the “page loading” screen provided by the slow Internet of Belize has given me time to really sit down with myself and evaluate what I’m doing. So right now, I’m turning the computer off and going to the beach. Re-prioritizing never felt so sunny.

From cup of (milky) coffee to yours,


Mandy