When we mentioned moving to Santa Ynez, many people completely overlooked Loren and the kids with being able to adjust and looked directly at me asking “how are you going to handle living on a ranch and not knowing anyone?” I am not going to lie, I took some offense to this question, thinking to myself, “why do they think I am the one who is not going to be able to handle this?!”
The truth is though, when I take a step back, I am can understand where this question is coming from. While Loren finds peace and serenity in the quiet, slower pace of life, I have thrived among the masses, always wanting to be involved and being energized by activity, people and an active social calendar. In college, I would stay up as late as possible and wake up early because I felt that sleep just got in the way of fun. I love speaking in front of people and there was rarely a social event (party, fundraiser, lunch, whatever) I would say no to. I am, by definition, an extrovert.
So how was this extrovert going to pick up and move to a new area that lends itself to a quieter, slower way of life while not knowing any more than a handful of people? I get it. I can see how it doesn’t make much sense.
But perhaps I have grown up and learned a few things.
When I was younger and my Oldest was just starting Kindergarten, I felt the need to be friends with everyone and be involved with everything. I threw myself into friendships and commitment with wild abandonment. My world was suddenly a collection of playdates, mom night outs, school events, fundraisers and people everywhere. This extrovert was in social heaven and the noise was everywhere.
A few years went by and then suddenly, I began to crave silence.
I started to notice that though I called everyone a friend, they were really acquaintances and the number people I truly called on as friends was relatively small. The social calendar and involvement I built up over the years began to feel more like a burden than an enjoyment and I realized that I was saying yes for the sake of saying yes and not because I had a true desire to be there.
Life needed to slow down. God had been telling me this for years. In fact, one of my favorite bible verses is “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) yet I rarely paid attention to what it was saying because I was too busy running on all cylinders. It took some time but finally, one day, I woke up and was ready to listen.
I read the book Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner and it felt like it was written just for me. It was time to make a change. Over the last year I have learned to love the silence and peace in not “being involved”. I schedule less and pray more. I learned the value of loyalty and that this smaller group of people I have surrounded myself are considered my extended family, always there for me when I need them. I realized that I enjoyed dinner at home with my family more than any night out on the town. I realized that a glass of wine with one dear friend was better than any party. Slowly, I was slowing down.
So here we are.
If I am honest, I am enjoying the fact that no one knows me here. There is a peace in walking on campus or going to the market without running into someone you know. This does not mean that I am not looking forward to meeting people and getting involved. It just means that perhaps this extrovert has learned to appreciate the quiet life of an introvert at times and right now, it is rejuvenating. There is a quote in Erin’s book by G.K. Chesterton that says “There are two ways to get enough; one is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less”. I love this because I am finding more value with fewer friends, fewer activities and fewer obligations than I ever did in my accumulation of it all. For that, this extrovert has found complete joy in this more simple, quiet way of life.
And so the answer to the question “how are you going to handle it?’ needs only one simple response.
“I am doing just fine.”
10 thoughts on “Week Three: Chasing Slow”
Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Mathew Kelley “people confuse busy with important”
Oh I love that quote and it is so true. I am going to keep that one in my back pocket!
I felt my heart settle as Indead more and more! Getting that book today and welcoming change internally and externally! Miss you and think of you often!
It is such a great book! I loved it and think you will really enjoy it. Miss you too and hope all is well in TX!
I have always been a homebody– just happy at home with a book– but feeling like I needed to be on the go, go, go, doing everything for everyone for every minute of the day. Your journey has been as awakening for me, like ” Wait, hold on…. we can step off this ride? We have a choice?” I don’t know if I would take to this small town life as beautifully as you and your family but I am so loving being an observer and starting to day dream about the what ifs for my own family one day. So incredibly happy for your new town and day-to-day life Sarah- xx
Thank you so much Michelle! Your words mean a lot. It feels good to shut yell out STOP AND SLOW DOWN! to life sometimes doesn’t it.
Sarah I am so enjoying reading about your journey!! Eric and I have often talked about moving up there for the slower pace and less chaotic schedule that our lives down in the OC require… Can’t wait to hear more about your transition and hopefully one day we may call you neighbor! 🙂
It was a conversation we had for years too. I will keep you posted on how it all goes and we would love to see you up here one day!
Beautiful!! I too am an extrovert, but as I’m maturing I’m realizing, like you, that depth over breadth is where you find real joy!! Praying for you!!