I read a post on Humans of New York the other week about a man called Wayne. It was a lovely story about a man who was larger than life and, even after he died, someone who brought happiness to those close to him. If you haven’t read it already, I would highly recommend. One line that really stuck out to me was about Wayne’s philosophy on the world: “He always stopped for life. That’s one thing he taught me—if you want fullness in life, you have to stop for it”. Stopping for life. The Ferris-Buelleriean idea that sometimes, to really appreciate what’s going on, you need to take a little breather.
I’ve gone back home for the quarantine. Swapped my tower block in South London for the East Kent coast and, after a few weeks of trying to fill every minute with something to work on, I’m learning how to take that breather. Life in London is fast-paced and, for the most part, I love it, happily hurtling about the place, avoiding the one thing that I hate more than anything: doing nothing. One global pandemic and a government-enforced lockdown later, and I’ve had to accept that doing nothing is a fairly significant part of my life now. But, instead of crumbling under the usual anxiety that I’m somehow wasting time, that life is passing me by, I’ve stopped. Inspired by Wayne, I’ve decided to try and appreciate what’s around me.
My mum still lives a ten-minute walk away from where I went to primary school. I’ve been doing the same walk my brother and I used to do, through the same park, along the same footpaths, up and down the same hills. The only difference, a decade later, is that I’ve brought my camera instead of my bookbag. That, and I’m walking it much, much slower.