As I have settled into Raleigh over the last four months, I have been pleasantly surprised at how easy it has been to slow down life. My fear in moving cross-country in search of a more simple existence was that we create our own hamster wheels on which to run. We are 100% responsible for our own speed, so why would I change as a person just by changing geography?
It turns out, in my one-woman-perfectly-scientific-experiment, geography does indeed play a significant factor. My conclusion? There are simply more hours in the day in North Carolina. Okay, that may not be the scientific answer, but the pace of life would have you question it. Yes, we still work, groceries still have to be purchased and school supplies procured, but I'm not rushed. I have time to take the kids to the pool, or come home after school and just play. The culture isn't one of laziness, but it is one that appreciates the simplicity of enjoying where you are in the moment. I (typically!) don't feel like I'm doing one activity just to rush to the next and that is unbelievably refreshing.
Could this mindset be transferred to San Francisco? Absolutely. But I don't think San Francisco envies this behavior, the same way Raleigh doesn't seem to envy the busy city life. They are exclusively wonderful in their own environments with neither being better or worse.
As I edited the photo at the top of this page, I was reminded how much my artistic expression has expanded since moving here simply by giving myself the space to explore, to notice, and to experiment without feeling rushed or guilty that I should be doing something else. I'm not writing this to talk anyone into moving to Raleigh nor to suggest everyone else is going about life all wrong if your pace is faster than my own. I'm simply reflecting on how my life has become richer by slowing down and noticing what I desire for this chapter of life. I hope it inspires you to explore something you've been putting off, whether it be taking a class, playing a sport, building a fort with your kids or surprising your spouse with a spontaneous act of adoration.
And now...my zen must come to a pause as I battle the school pick-up line. Some things, as it turns out, are the same from coast-to-coast. :)