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Things Move a Little Slower Here

When I was 20 I moved from Kansas City to Taipei, Taiwan to start two years of missionary service. That was the first time I had ever lived in a big city. Getting used to the furious pace of life and the sheer number of people was hard.

Three months later I moved from Taipei to Taidong. Taidong may be the biggest city in its part of the island, but it felt very small compared to Taipei.

The first week there I had several conversations that went like this:

Me: We would like to come visit you and share a message.
Other Person: That sounds fine. Tomorrow works for me.
Me: Tomorrow? Great! What time tomorrow?
Other Person: Afternoon.
Me: What time in the afternoon?
Other Person: In the afternoon. Whenever you come. Things move a little slower here.

It took a while to slow down and relax. Eventually I grew to love the slower pace of life and the way people there thought about time.

While we are living under stay-at-home orders and practicing physical distancing, you may feel some of those same uncomfortable feelings I felt in Taidong. Our schedules are suddenly clear, our appointment books empty, and our extra curricular schedule blank. Suddenly “things move a little slower here” too!

This is a grand chance. We have time for reflection, pondering, and deep thinking, but only if we resist the urge to fill our days with “stuff.” Many people are calling for this to be a time to Get Things Done. I think this is a time to relearn how to be bored.

The magic of creativity and the ability to do deep work comes when we have mental space. Don’t squander this chance to get reacquainted with (or to learn for the first time) what it feels like to live a little slower.

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