Too Many Distractions in the U.S.

Life in the U.S. is full of distractions; that’s probably not news to you, but it does come as a shock after living in a rondavel in Lesotho, where my only distractions were the sounds of roosters crowing at 4 a.m., donkeys braying day and night, dogs defending their territories, and Basotho villagers yelling across the corn fields. I used to think the people were angry, but soon learned that shouting is a normal way of communicating in my host country.
It’s only been five weeks since I returned from Lesotho, but somehow it feels like six months. I’m so busy; my calendar is full, as I  fill my days with job searching, appointments, networking, workshops, Rosetta Stone Spanish, brushing up on “free” online courses required for certain positions, meeting family and friends for lunch or dinner, and let’s not forget dating.
I’m not even working a full-time job, but it certainly seems like it.  I’m all over the place, and one luxury I appreciate more than any other, is the freedom to drive myself. I no longer have to rely on the unpredictable, overcrowded, public taxis from my African village. Transportation in Lesotho was a huge stress factor in my life. I never knew when the public taxi would show up on the dirt road. Even in the middle of winter, when frost covered the red soil outside my rondavel, I would keep my front door open just to hear the sound of the old Toyota engine ascending the steep hill leading to my village. With all my gear ready to go for my weekly shower and grocery shopping, I would scurry through my one door, key ready to turn the lock on my burglar bars, while attempting to fling my backpack straps over my shoulders. Out of breath, I would reach the red-clay road only to discover that I’d mistaken the engine sound of the Toyota taxi. Looking down the hill into the distance, I’d scan the area for a white van with a yellow stripe. When my finger tips grew numb, despite being cuddled inside hand-knitted gloves, I headed back to my burglar bars, and started the whole waiting process again.
You see, I am not suffering from “culture shock,” like some of my friends have stated, but rather from too many distractions. I love being busy, meeting people, having interesting conversations with people, and even the friendly quick chat with cashiers at Trader Joe’s. These were lacking in my life in Lesotho, especially as I was unable to speak their language.
There are so many things to do and see in our world in the U.S.  Information overload, too many courses to choose from, classes to attend, whether exercise classes or professional classes, movies, theater, concerts, wonderful shops and malls, exciting foods to buy, excellent customer service, so many choices we take for granted, but not me.
I enjoy my freedom to do what I want to, to drive where I want to go, to watch a recent movie, to meet a friend for a cup of coffee, to eat at a restaurant, to go for a stroll on the beach, and most of all, to be distracted.
I’m grateful for my distractions, because after all, how do we grow? Here we can keep learning and we have the freedom to do whatever we want to improve our skills and to create our own lives. I had enough quiet time in my rondavel that I longed for all the things we take for granted in our comfortable lives in the U.S.

Comments (9)

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  1. Suellen Zima says:

    For many reasons, I’ve always considered America “the land of too much.” I came to an age, and a point in life, when I felt I was shifting from “doing” to “being.” Seven years ago, when I had to stop driving and relied on our bus system, I realized my life was calmer because I had to plan out my day and evening according to the buses. In a car, it was always possible to add on more and more errands. Have I missed having my own car? Yes, but not to do errands. I miss not being able to drive down to Laguna Beach at a moment’s notice and watch the sunset. Somehow — whether retired or not, the days continue to go by quickly.

  2. Rob-bear says:

    Welcome to North America. So much to do; so little time!

  3. dkzody says:

    Variety is the spice of life. You are living a very spicy life right now! Enjoy it.
    dkzody recently posted..Warm weather must be comingMy Profile

  4. Margot says:

    If everyone lived outside of the United States they would probably be more patriotic and more grateful. I have had a couple of operations in the last year, the first time doing so in the USA. Although I it was not a bad experience in Mexico the hospitals and doctors are amazing here in Austin. I am so appreciative of the healthcare here. Sometimes I think I am the only one that thinks that? 😂😂 You will NEVER hear me complain!!!

  5. Ian Mathie says:

    If it did nothing else for you, your time in Lesotho has made you appreciate your home environment and what it has to offer with renewed enthusiasm. Parts of life that previously felt stale and burdensome, now have a renewed energy and interest, and you are able to enjoy them in a way you couldn’t before. This is a tremendous gift and you should enjoy it. Don’t feel guilty about doing so, life is there to be enjoyed, not endured. Grab it with both hands, revel in it, but keep your eyes and ears open for that great opportunity that is out there, waiting for you. Then you will have that much more energy to invest when you find your niche. 🙂

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