Whenever I visit my family in the Midwest, I experience a perceptible shift in the pace and depth of interactions the moment I step off the plane. The town I called home for the first 21 years of my life is full of hard working, high achieving, early rising men and women, but they manage to go about their business in a less frenetic and frenzied manner than my adopted hometown of Washington, DC.
When I first began coming "home" as a visitor, it took me days to recalibrate, and I made the transition grudgingly: Why must things move so slowly? Do we really need to spend 15 minutes saying goodbye to people we will see again tomorrow? Is that waiter ever going to take our order? Let's MOVE, people!
Over time, however, I have learned to welcome the change of pace and perspective these visits provide. I am heartened by the sincerity with which even strangers wait for a response after asking, "How are you?" I am cheered by family and friends who greet an unplanned visitor with a warm reception (and homemade cookies). I am grateful to be able to show my daughter a different window onto life as she begins to form her own world view.
I will be glad to return to the rhythms of a life and city I love, but I am embracing this opportunity to soak up more time with the people whose fingerprints are all over my life and the places that feature fondly in my memories.
Can you give yourself permission to slow down and appreciate a different pace?