Monday, 14 July 2014

Life | Why we all need to just slow down

Last week I started an internship in London. Now, I am no stranger to the city, not a tourist but also not a resident. I live about 45 minutes outside London, which means a fairly lengthy commute  and therefore the growing daily frustration of using the beautiful, expensive curse that is the Underground.

I've noticed in my short time here, there are certain groups of people on the daily commute. Business men and women focusing intently on the Metro on the way into work, the Evening Standard on the way home, then you've got the techies: emails, texts, twitter, Facebook, and (a favourite I have noticed on the Underground cos there's no signal/internet for anything else) Candy Crush. The sleepy music fans with iPods that sound more like speakers, desperately savouring every spare second of shut eye. Finally, you have the broody window dwellers, staring meaningfully out the window, even in a pitch black tunnel and then there's my category: the bookworms. Now there is nothing wrong with any of these methods, not everyone is a morning person and I get that. But do we need to continue this throughout the entire day, at every point when we are alone?

This afternoon, one of my colleagues sent me off from Oxford Street to the Old Vic Theatre- a solid 30 minute walk through the centre of London "or you can take the tube" she said. It was a gorgeous day and frankly I needed both the exercise and to learn my way around, so I opted for the walk. Because I was focusing so much on where I needed to go, making sure I didn't go the wrong way and what not, I noticed so much more than I normally would have. Including thousands of people doing the opposite. Marching through the streets, as if they were in a power walking race, phones glued to either their ears, hands, eyes, no one taking the chance to really see where they were. And for the first time in a while, I really tried to.

Now, like I said, a tourist I'm not but, I couldn't help but continue with this focus on the way back too, even though I now knew the way. I was trotting over Waterloo Bridge and saw a family who were clearly only visiting, cluttering up the path, arranging themselves into a photo, much to the frustrations of bustling business folk, hurrying back from their lunch break or off to an important meeting. But I couldn't help but admire their excitement. The family of tourists I mean, not the bustling business folk, they weren't quite as chipper.

Normally, I'm one of those huffer and puffers when I see I'm approaching the dreaded tourist group, knowing my speedy walk we be slowed to an hazy little amble while they consult maps and pose for selfies, post on Instagram and goodness knows what. They were just enthralled by the view.

Now I don't know if you've ever been over Waterloo Bridge before or seen the view on either side- one side you have the business bit, all skyscrapers and snazzy weirdly shaped glass office blocks, and then you have true London on the other side. The bridge looks over Big Ben, Parliament, the Tower of London, the London Eye and a whole host of incredible buildings that make London, London. I've been over that bridge so many times and not once have I stopped to just look at the view. Well today this little family made me and I gotta say- it really is the best view of the city. I didn't take a photo like the family did and I really wish I had but, to give you an idea, it looks a little like this:


Although my enlightenment was short-lived when I missed my train later this evening because the Underground was so busy they had to close my station for 20 minutes, leaving many people grumpy, hot and tired in a clump of irritation in the middle of Victoria Station. That aside, I'm sure you all saw that 'Look Up' video when it went viral, if not it's below, and I don't know if it's a combination of re-watching that, reading 'The Fault in Our Stars', that little family that managed to catch my attention or the fact that I'm still a London novice and need to remember every shop, street and signpost but, turns out London (and probably countless other places all over the world) is a truly beautiful city when you come out from under the ground, put down everything apart from your eyes and just take five seconds to look up and really see where you are. It's just so easy, with such fast paced lives and tight focus on that constant mission, to miss simple things like a view over a bridge on your way to work. Cheesy and cliché that maybe but it really did brighten up my day, even with the inconvenience of the London transport system.

Happy Monday Everyone! 


  1. Very true. We're always on our phones, multitasking, doing everything at once. We just need to put everything down, like you said, & see the world as it is. :] // ☼

    1. glad someone agrees! thanks for the comment :) x