I’ve heard the phrase “you gotta go slow to go fast” used is so many different situations. Take the time to go slow to learn something so you are proficient and can move quickly with it once it’s mastered. Take the time to do the work that matters so you can move quickly into influence. But what about just going slow without regard to going fast? What comes when you slow life down? Have you done it? What was it like for you? Was it by choice? Did it “happen” to you? What did you learn?
We’re at the end of our first week of an intentional international slow down. It wasn’t easy to get to this point. It took a lot of discipline, planning and the hospitality of some dear friends. Sure, we’ve been on vacation several times before, but those are full of sightseeing, museums and traveling about. This time it’s quite a bit different. We’re here in Europe for 7 weeks. 40 Days in Italy, 3 in France and 5 in Spain. Why? Well, we wanted to reset some things. Our life is very good. We have great families, dear friends and live in the very place we want to live. We can’t ask for much more. Over the past year, we’ve continued to ask ourselves bigger questions. How shall we live? How do we want our relationship to grow? What things are important to us as we settle into this new place of home? What do we want to create?
The more the thought about these questions the more we realized how easily it is for life to happen. Unplanned, unintentional and unfocused days may pass full of good activity, great relationships and valuable responsibility. All very good, but some very unintentional. We asked ourselves, “Where are we going? Who are we becoming?”
So, after selling our home we decided not to buy another, but rather sell our second car, pack our bags on hop on a plane for nearly two months of doing life a bit differently, learning to slow down, to reconsider our focus, reconnect with each other, to learn and maybe change a bit in the process.
Here’s my early observations of slowing down:
- It’s difficult. I don’t sit still very well and the slow pace of this intentional time is already a test for me at times.
- Sleeping is part mental. I don’t sleep well at night. I haven’t for years. I’ve often used the help of NyQuil and almost always use earplugs and a noise maker and still at times lay sleepless at night. And the apartment we’re renting is on a busier corner than expected and thus it’s a bit loud. So, I’m not sleeping much at night. But I can nap just fine. I haven’t been able to nap in years, but I’ve sacked out several times in the middle of the day for an hour or two when it’s louder and without earplugs or a noise maker. Sleep problems may just be in my head.
- I can waste a lot of time. Maybe this is a phase of detox, but I find myself restless when we have little to do. I want to get out, walk, see, do or search my phone for news, info, social media. Luckily we don’t have TV in English or I’d probably waste time there too.
What if you just went slow? For a few minutes? An hour? A morning? A day? A weekend? A week?
What might you learn?