The world moves fast – and ever faster, it seems, for many people – so if you don’t look around you on a daily basis, you never know what you might be missing.
If the modern world sometimes gets you down, it’s worth considering whether you’re really taking in your surroundings; many people exist in a kind of bubble, shut off from the hustle and bustle around them, but that might not be the healthiest way for you to live.
For example, if you’re the kind of person who walks down a busy city street with headphones on, it can be easy to begin to feel isolated, without recognizing that you are the one sealing yourself off from the rest of the world.
Try taking the headphones off, and just listening to the music of the city; it’s not all just noise, there are the voices of friends chattering, the laughter of passers-by sharing a joke, and people everywhere making plans for the rest of the day, and the rest of their lives.
Give it a fresh chance, and the noisiest of streets can be transformed into a thing of beauty, all for the small effort of taking your earphones out.
You might find a new found love of city ‘noise’ and decide to sell your now-unwanted iPod completely, or you might decide to hang on to it and just switch between your own little world, and the big world around you, whenever you need or want to.
It’s not just about what you can hear, though – there are things every day that you walk right by without even seeing, especially if you’re an eyes-front or stare-at-the-ground kind of person.
Lift your chin a little and allow yourself to look beyond the person immediately in front of you; this could be difficult if you’re not too tall, but there are always less busy side streets if you need to escape the crowds for a moment.
Focus your gaze as far ahead as you as you can see without your view being uninterrupted, and let your peripheral vision take in the rest; the buildings, the bars, the multitude of windows overlooking the street.
If you really need inspiration, find a road that’s been there for a long time – ideally well over a hundred years – and take a moment to admire the architecture.
Most city streets will have a mixture of early architecture, potentially several hundreds of years old, alongside more modern buildings that have been created either through refurbishment of old structures’ frontage, or by rebuilding premises that had become unstable.
It’s the history of the city in built form, in brick and concrete and stone, and it helps to put things into perspective if you’re having a tough day.
Recognizing the beauty around you can help to take the edge off of working in the city – and, combined with weekend escapes to the country when you get the chance, could help to give you a new, more positive outlook on life.