Occasionally I’m reminded of it in subtle ways.
On the rare day when I drive my daughter to daycare, it’s a minute long ride. We go there. I drop her off. Collect my kiss. It’s done.
When we bike, we feel the wind and see the sun rearing up over the houses. I shout at her to push me up the hill. We coast down the other side and I drag my hand out signaling a left turn. I drop her off. Collect my kiss. It’s done.
But if we walk – if we walk – we pick some flowers for mom, we look at a bird, we shout at the bus. We contemplate a dead squirrel in the road. We feel the air. We take off our jackets. We take everything in.
Here is an illustration of what I’m talking about:
Our ability to observe is inversely proportional to the speed at which we move. I think I may have written about this before. I think it’s fairly obvious. But this applies to many things. It’s not about stopping to smell the roses, which is quaint and nice, but not necessarily necessary. It’s more pragmatic.
The New York Times had an important opinion piece on the importance of time to fritter. Again, it’s not about stopping to smell the roses. It’s about giving yourself time to observe, time to let the cogs move, a second to breathe.
This also isn’t about saying that cars are horrible! Burn cars! Or ‘I’m so cool because I walk everywhere. Look at me.’ But it’s just about being aware of how we take things in.
“You waste years by not being able to waste hours,” said an observant Amos Tversky (Quoted in the article mentioned above. Mind you, I’m not so well read that I actually know who that is – though I do now because I just looked him up. He is very interesting.).