I remember the first time I went to London as a child. I was in awe of what I now call ‘the rat race’. The crazy, frantic rush of busy crowds moving in waves as commuters made their way to work. There was something about that kind of lifestyle that excited me, from the outside it looked like fun – fast forward a few years to 2013 and I was part of it, only it wasn’t like I’d imagined. You see, there’s nothing exciting or glamorous about being involuntarily moved along an overcrowded carriage, sandwiched between two strangers whilst you’re sweating under your winter coat, and have no option but to stand and wait.
I escaped that lifestyle for a while but this year I’ve found myself in the middle of the hustle and bustle as I commute to University four days a week. Whilst I waited for my cancelled train last week and watched the commuters impatiently rushing along platforms I started to wonder, how many of us live like this? The morning rush symbolises the way so many of us live our lives, constantly in a hurry for something, chasing just one more thing to make our lives better, to make us ‘happier’. It’s so easy to fall into that mindset, telling ourselves ‘I’ll be happier when I get that pay rise’ or ‘I’ll be happier when I move house’.
A few months back this was exactly where I found myself. I had fallen into the unhealthy mindset of thinking ‘just get these next two years out the way…’. I started to make plans for when I graduate and found myself aiming for that time in my life, with little regard to the present. Then something snapped inside me and that’s when I realised, you fool, embrace your life for what it is right now, it won’t stay this way for long so stop chasing. I realised I was taking so many aspects of my life for granted because everything wasn’t just how I thought it should be.
I decided my life was not like a jigsaw requiring lots of missing pieces to make it right, and if I wasn’t careful I would waste away the years constantly chasing the next missing piece. I think the best way to look at life is like the view out of a car window, whilst on a new journey; you have no idea what is coming up, and what has already past you is now gone, so you just appreciate what you see right in front of you. You don’t expect more from the view because you don’t get time to stop and stare as you’re moving too fast, like life if you don’t appreciate what’s right in front of you it will pass you by. If we could all look back on the map of our journey of life, we would see how events big and small have had their purpose, and that life is really about the journey not the destination.