I look around for a second and observe the strangers around me. Everyone’s sitting at their own lunch table: eyes scanning a magazine or tablet, fingers running thru the keyboard with their woes, mouths noisily chewing processed foods. I wonder how much time they, you, and I have spent absorbed in this state of mind we deem “productive work.”I often wonder how much time more.
I imagine my years in college will go the same way, eyes glued to a textbook written by a professor whose last name I can’t pronounce, legs rhythmically shaking to convince myself I’m concentrating, a Starbucks doubleshot in hand. I wonder how many times I’ve been surrounded by these same strangers...it’s odd to think I could be accompanied by the same ones every night and never notice.
The worst part is that I have to accept that this will be my life for many years to come. That the minutes my physical body spends crouched over a laptop, the minutes my brain scatters from essays to labs to theses, the minutes I neglect my mother’s pleas to spend some time together...these are the determinants of success in today’s world. I do not criticize this, I ponder it. I do not scorn this, I accept it. I do not pass you, I challenge you.
Next time you’re in a library, cafe, park, or bus put your device down and breath for a minute. When you chew, chew fully, and really taste your food...every speck of pepper, every weird lump your brother convinces you is chicken. When you work, really, really work. Give it your 110%, and don’t take Facebook breaks. We spend too much time trying to multitask and not enough living in the moment.
And time to time, look around a bit and perhaps you may see as I see.