When I first moved over to Australia, I was your typical American. Type A, high-strung, nothing was fast enough, over-thought, over-sensitive, intelligent…American.
I over-whelmed Australians.
Australians work at a totally different, slower pace. When Americans first move here they almost always comment on how frustrated they are to be in Australia because EVERYTHING moves way too slowly. The grading of assignments takes weeks, final grades takes months to be posted, you don’t know your class schedule a year in advance, you have to wait 10+ minutes for someone to take your order, there aren’t free refills on soda, or ice with water.
Americans overwhelm Australians.
There’s something important about Australians…especially now that I’m engaged with one. They don’t stress out about stuff, unless it’s important. They’ve learned to relax into life, recongnise that the 20 minutes it takes to get two cappuccinos is precious, invaluable and uninterrupted time to catch up with someone.
When I was dating Andrew, I always had to remind myself to not over-analyse things. Was he gonna call? What did he mean by this that or the other? He always texted morning and night. Always told me what he was feeling. Was transparent. It may not have been the over-emotional-ness which I think Americans are indoctrinated with..but it was genuine. There weren’t frills, but it was straight-forward. I struggled with that….now I love it.
When we went to America, we were honestly over-whelmed. Too much choice, too big, too over-the-top. We wanted to linger at meals and not be pestered by waiters trying to increase their tips. We were stunned and sometimes horrified at how quickly food came out, because it robbed us of the experience of relaxing into an evening together. Too fast. Too quick. Not enough relax. The first thing you hear when you get off of a plane in America is “this is Homeland security, we’re currently on code Orange.”
When you live in a world that doesn’t promote relaxing, chilling out, etc…you don’t do it because it doesn’t feel right. I’ve oftentimes cried to Andrew about my head issue, mental flogging of the horse with weight and body-image issues. I’m always astounded when he comes back at me with a very relaxed, logical response. It takes all the over (insert the word of choice) that I would do to myself..and simplifies it. Reduces the emotion and energy and makes me realise life isn’t meant to be about flogging it out…just relax.
So, I’m learning to relax more. Relax more into our relationship. Into coffees taking 20 minutes. Into work’s craziness at times. Into my future career. Into wedding planning. Into my own self-image.
Life will never be perfect. It will never be up to what we hoped it would be…if we just don’t learn to be with it instead of throwing it through the meat-grinder.