Whose speed is this?

I love growing up.  The freedom of getting to do and go where I want is awesome.  I also love how growing older continues to mean becoming more honest about who I am.  I no longer think I am lazy because Olympians are in better shape than I am (Juliette got me on that one).  I am realistic about the fact that verbal processing is a thing that I love doing, but not everyone thinks it’s quite as grand.   And as I’ve started to name certain habits or traits I have, it’s been interesting to parse what parts of me are rooted in family heritage, national culture, and/or personal experience.  This whole process of understanding myself a little more clearly has honestly been very helpful in my efforts to best handle myself, ya know, in the world.   I’ve stopped assuming the WORLD is crazy, and started recognizing the pace at which I approach the world is a big part of why my head is often spinning.  Fortunately, I’m also seeing that even I can slow it down a notch.

If you saw me this summer in the United States, you were probably not at all surprised that I was in a frenzy, rushing somewhere, or bouncing between things as I often do.  In Colorado, this is my normal rhythm, with so many people to see (who unfortunately do not live in the same county, and traffic in that beloved place can be a bear) and a short timeline to embrace all the goodness.  Frankly, it can be exhausting.

But when I returned to Santiago, where I live in another traffic choked, bustling city, I realized something profound: I don’t need chaos to breathe.  I can in fact thrive at a lower speed, and here in Chile, I don’t run around like my pants are on fire.  I read books (and feel guilty about it, but that’s for another post).  I let my child drag our rolling grocery cart the whole way home from the store, shuffling my feet beside her as she delights in learning to handle things beyond herself.  I have wonderful friends, but I don’t feel like any of them will be disappointed with me if I can’t make every get together.  In my mom’s group at church, we talked about God’s expectation that we rest, for our own good.  Here in Chile, I feel like I get to do that.

True, I miss some of the craziness.  I miss feeling important because I had pressing things to do, and I miss laying down at night exhausted because I ran through the day using up all my energy.  But I don’t miss the constant strain of that pace or the shadow of failure that inevitably stalked me as I tried to do too much.  It’s a little strange to be on the outside of the mad-rush culture; at times I feel torn between rejoicing in the calm and sheepish about my freedom to rest.

And admittedly, I still manage to find myself in a hurry many days, constantly running late for things (showing up 30 minutes late is supposedly the Chilean norm, so I’m just being culturally sensitive;).  And even though things typically take a bit longer here (standing in line is common, everywhere, for most things, even things like waiting for an elevator), I often wait until the last minute to get things done which leads to me handing Rayna another snack in her stroller as I speed walk the city streets to get that to-do list checked.  But overall, this life in Santiago is turning out to be full of moments of rest.  While I am excited about upcoming trips, various celebrations, and getting involved in a few more activities, I’m also enjoying this slow pace.  I figure I better soak it in, for this too shall pass.  Love!!!

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Rayna snuggled up in our favorite book reading chair.

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