Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Too many cars, not enough people
It’s hard for most people to say they get outside for at least 20 minutes a day. I’ve been inside the last two days doing homework and going to school, so I decided to take a break and walk my dog Cooper. We live in the suburbs and have a fenced-in yard so he doesn’t go on walks very often, but he knows when we’re about to go and gets so excited. It’s a beautiful, warm day as we begin our walk (always starting in the same direction as to avoid a certain dog) and I begin to notice something. We’re outside trying to take in this day and get some fresh air but there are so many cars zooming by. After about 10 minutes we reach a point where we can cross over and enjoy some of the side roads. Starting up the hill of the street we see a woman walking and she swiftly crosses over when she takes notice of us. This is not uncommon on our walks. Cooper is very friendly, but he is a larger dog and I think that it seems easier for people to avoid something that they may be afraid of. The other thing that I tend to notice is the lack of eye contact when you walk by someone (if they don’t cross the street to avoid you altogether). I generally don’t see many people walking around, they’re mostly driving, but when I do walk the opposite way of someone eye contact is always a hard thing to come by. I have to catch myself sometimes staring at the ground.
As we headed back towards home I saw an older man with a bicycle. He was pushing it since it was a steep hill. Neither of us avoided each other, although we were on opposite sides of the street, we smiled and said hello. It made me happy to have that small interaction. People are so concerned about being unhappy, and while they are driving around in their cars they don’t get a chance to experience these small but monumental interactions. Instead they’re wrapped up in their own bubble.
Now this walk was supposed to be a 20 minute walk, but the way that the streets are set up and that Cooper feels the need to stop every 5 seconds to smell another animals markings, it turned out to be at least 45 minutes. A woman pulled up next to me because she was lost. She was looking for the high school in the town over and was holding a piece of paper, which may have been directions. I told her how to get to the school and there was a beauty in this that many people may not see. She actually stopped to talk to someone to ask for directions. She didn’t pull out a smart phone or a GPS and I thought that was sort of wonderful.
I don’t always have days where I feel happy and can take on whatever work I have in store for me, but I do try. Humans need to appreciate what is around them. Not all of the gadgets and things, but the beauty of a walk, a brief interaction with a stranger, the change of the leaves. Just start taking notice and stop becoming detached from the actual world.
This article from the Huffington Post really inspired me and is certainly worthwhile. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/16/happiness-habits-of-exuberant-human-beings_n_3909772.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular