the pace of life.

The other night, I went to bed with a mile-long to-do list of things that went undone. This isn't necessarily unusual (I generally think to-do lists should be flexible and work for me, not the other way around, so I rearrange them all the time), but this night, I was a little stressed out about it.

In between coordinating details for an upcoming work-related trip to Virginia Beach and preparing the house and dogs for me to be gone and my brother to dogsit, there were just a lot of little things that needed to be accomplished. So, earlier in the week I sat down and made a big, detailed list. Everything from doing laundry (broken into specifics, like "do 2 loads of whites") to remembering when the recycling needed to go to the street (I always forget) to doing the dishes, it was all on there. Then I broke up all of those tasks into different days, because I'm a list maker, and that's what we do.

Jake came over to hang out for a few hours in the evening while his mom went out to dinner with the girls, and I had originally planned to make some kind of meal out of whatever I could find in the kitchen and put him to work. He rarely minds as long as I put on music and we're doing it together. But this day, instead, I decided we were going to walk downtown for dinner and ice cream. And after I got home and Jake and Katie left, I went to bed early, because I was tired and needed the extra sleep.

The thing is, I know that I made the right choice. Intentional time with Jacob, plus needed sleep, is much more important than checking a few more things off my list. And yet, as I got ready for bed, I was still obsessing about that stupid list. I couldn't help be struck by how differently my life was just seventh months ago.

You see, in Africa, or at least in Gabon, things just move at a slower pace. I'm sure there are tons of reasons for this - cultural differences, differences in infrastructure, the American mentality of go-go-go-do-it-right-now. And honestly, I miss it. I miss feeling free to just be in the moment, to just put the "I have to" things away for a bit. To spend all day at the hospital with a kid because that was what I needed to do. To just wait patiently for a taxi or a friend without feeling like I had to break out my phone and "use the time wisely."

As I lay there in bed, in those few moments before falling asleep, I thought, I have to slow down. I have to find a way to live at that pace of life, here. 

And then, no lie, my very next thought was, as soon as I get this stuff done, I can slow down.

Which just tells me what I already know - that trying to live slowly and deliberately here is not an easy thing to do.

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