It’s just after 7AM in central London. My bus arrived a moment ago and I’m sitting in the cool metal of a coach station chair. I need to catch an underground train for the next leg of my journey, so I’ll be sitting here for about 2.5 hours. By choice. And I wonder how many other people would make this decision.
A few weeks ago I was surrounded by rush hour commuters. They filled the trains to capacity and I found myself sandwiched between them, wishing I had space to reach the water bottle in my backpack. Or move my arms at all. To really drive the message home, the train I had boarded was having mechanical problems and kept stopping for long stretches of time. When I finally disembarked, I was half an hour late for my connecting bus and feeling absolutely smothered.
After a couple mis-timed rides on the London Underground, I quickly realized that morning rush hour was not for me. Large crowds can be stressful for anybody, and for an emotional empath they can feel totally overwhelming.
On the last ride, packed in like a sardine, I decided to give myself the gift of space and time. When planning future travels, I vowed to depart during the less crowded “off peak” times. And to get to the station earlier in case there are any delays. I knew it would go far in keeping me sane, happy, and peaceful.
As I sit here extending my travels by a couple hours, I remember a version of me who wouldn’t allow herself this luxury. It used to feel more important being quick and efficient. But that version of me was also far more stressed out. It wasn’t a great trade off, but it took me years of experience to really see that. And when I recall the tight lipped faces of the commuters, I wonder if they are having the same thoughts.
Can you relate to this story? What personal concessions do you make in the name of efficiency? What are some ways that you can give yourself room to breathe, and time to unwind? I’d love to hear your input in the comments section below.
Image Credit: TheeErin