Earlier tonight I decided that I needed to walk over to Staples in Union Square to pick up some items I’ve been meaning to get for the past few weeks. I do this walk every day on my commute to-and-from work, and it usually takes anywhere from 10-15 minutes depending on my pace. Since I had nothing planned for the rest of the evening, I found myself walking slower than usual. As I walked casually to the store, I observed that I was more aware of my surroundings. I found several new restaurants and stores that I walk past each day and never noticed; made eye contact with a huge variety of people who I can safely say are from all over the world; came to appreciate some of the pre-war architecture on the buildings; and much more. Without the thought of getting home or to the office in the back of my mind, I was actually able to enjoy the walk.
What this made me realize is that I spend entirely too much time each day rushing through my commute. Instead of acknowledging all of the interesting things around me, I walk as quick as possible to get to the office or back to my apartment. Since my commute is about 40 minutes of walking/subway riding each day, I spend 1 hour and 20 minutes of my day rushing somewhere without thinking. Multiply that times 5 and again by 50 and you have 333 hours and 20 minutes of time spent each year scrambling to get somewhere (or just under two weeks).
I think it’s time to slow down and enjoy the world around me.