i live in a big little city.
within its seven mile by seven mile radius, thousands of people roam. buses lurch, cars honk. houses and condos and apartment seem to gobble of every inch of space. within my city, there are a million things to do at any given time of any given day. there are art shows, comedy shows, music shows, and street fairs. new food joints open shop every week, beckoning the lunchers and diners of the night. thursday night became the new friday night until wednesday took it over until tuesday threw a coup d’etat until monday decided to be sunday. nothing stops until you let it stop.
i tend to not let it stop. i buzz about pretty much from the moment my sleepy eyes sense the sun to the moment i close my sleepy eyes to the moon. i am a flighty and curious person by nature. i want to know what people are doing and what is going on. i tend to start one project only to start another five at the same time. so i am simultaneously cooking, reading, brushing my teeth, checking my email, and gathering my belongings. i go, go, go despite my internal queues of ‘quiet down now’. even when i am actively doing something like driving or walking i am busy — on my phone, talking to someone, listening to music, thinking endlessly.
what am i savoring by being so busy? what am i letting pass through completely instead of brushing by for a moment? nothing, and just about everything.
today i passed a homeless man on the street in the middle of downtown. he looked at the ground sadly. i turned to my boyfriend and said “i should have given him the rest of my sandwich”. the opportunity felt lost to me and i carried on, hugging my boyfriend goodbye and walking back toward my car. plain walking felt plain boring so i took out my phone to check social media, to rummage through my email, to distract me from the very presence of the street i walked.
i noticed myself noticing my phone and decided to look up. the moment i did i looked straight into the eyes of another homeless man who greeted me cheerfully by asking, “got any change?” to which i said no, but that i did have a sandwich. it might as well have been money for how happy the response made him.
even when i drive i admittedly look at my phone. a bad habit but one the majority of us behind the wheel commit. there is no way around denying that. i did that today because plain driving was plain boring.
when i noticed myself noticing my phone i decided to look up — just in time to take a left onto the street i needed to turn down. although this and the incident with the homeless man felt serendipitous enough to stop trying to distract myself from whatever i was doing, i looked at my phone again not ten minutes later.
i glanced down and not a second later a voice came through my open window. “hey don’t text!”
i looked up and out the window, spotting a young man with blond hair. he smiled. i smiled. i pointed at him. “you’re right,” i said in defeat, “thanks for the reminder.” he nodded and my light turned green and i went away with a smile on my face.
there is life to savor in each moment. constantly doing, making, going, and moving makes us feel busier than we are or need to be. filling the empty spaces between scheduled appointments allows for nothing to digest. we’re simply filling and refilling our hunger for stimulation, without pause or rest to settle. i may live in a busy city with thousands of other busy and distracted people but that doesn’t mean that you or i have to follow suit.
when i got home i put the kettle on for tea. i felt exhausted and ready for rest. i grabbed a mug, spoon, and the honey jar. i pulled out a tea bag only to see one word written on the little tag at the end of the string: SAVOR.
and suddenly that word and my encounters and experiences from the day felt like a little lesson hand delivered by the universe. i smiled, and laughed softly, reminding myself to slow down every once and while. savoring could be just as satisfying as sailing through everything, after all.