If you follow me on Instagram (@ljtstoney so now you have no excuse), you may have seen my regular stories. They usually feature a stunningly artistic shot (ha! Thank God for filters) along with the time and the hashtag #URGH.
You’re probably thinking that it’s me just complaining about the time I’m supposed to be both awake and fully functional… it is partly that. It’s like, 5am?! Why in the Hell am I out of bed and on my way somewhere which isn’t another, comfier bed?
Also, I am not renowned as a morning person. Essentially, people don’t tend to believe that I can get up at a reasonable time in the morning, so it was also to prove them wrong. In your face, Joseph! You may have been getting up like a proper human pretty much your entire life, but I’ve done it a few times now and, thus, have gained moral superiority!!
So, it did start like that. But, as I walked the same road at roughly the same time every day, it changed into something better.
For the year that I have lived here in Edinburgh, I have lived in one area (Haymarket) and worked in another (near Waverly).
Almost every single day, I have woken up at some point in the day, got ready and walked down Princes Street on the way to work. At differing times of the day, but the exact same journey.
Sometimes, I’ll get a little bit crazy and walk down Rose Street. Especially in August, because there are just so, so many people on Princes Street. I’m not going to sit here and say “I’ve got social anxiety and crowds concern me”. The truth is that I am impatient, often late and I take minor sleights and turn them into grudges. If you suddenly decide to change direction and cut across me, forcing me to stop, I will remember your face until the day I die. You will haunt my nights and I will curse your very existence.
I didn’t say it was mature, I said it was me.
As I was saying, I have walked that same bit of road hundreds of times. I’ll have my headphones on, a start point, an end point, some sort of rough trajectory and I will set off. Head down, only paying attention so that I don’t wipe a small child out from this entire plane of existence (I’m an absolute power walker) and I arrive at my destination.
How many of you reading this have found yourself in that exact same situation?
Going to the same place multiple times a week on autopilot. You set off, you arrive and everything in between is labelled as irrelevant and deleted.
So, I would be walking to work when I’m on earlys (either 6am or 7am starts) and I would feel the need to rub my ability to wake up in people’s faces (Jesus Christ… have I always been this petty? Is… is this a new thing? I should look into that). So I would keep an eye out for interesting things, so that I didn’t keep posting the same picture.
After a few times, I started to realise how beautiful this city is.
When you live somewhere for a while, your senses dull to it. It becomes familiar and you become apathetic. Unless something drastic changes, it’s basically the same place day in and day out.
I realised that I was walking past small moments of wonder every day.
It had started to snow, the first week I was in at 6am, and the ground was untouched. A fresh layer of snow, the likes of which I haven’t seen for years (damn you, Global Warming!!). Normally, I would be annoyed that it’s cold and wet and try my best not to fall over. But, because I wanted to take a picture for my morning post, I started looking around for beautiful things.
Instead of wanting to be smug about getting up early, I wanted my friends and family to see something wonderful when they woke up. So my mother could look on my Instagram Story and think “that’s nice, glad to see Luke’s still alive”.
The point of this rant isn’t to tell you that Edinburgh is beautiful (everyone knows that), nor is it to boast about how good I am getting at waking up early (even though I have mentioned it a number of times now).
I barely see most of Edinburgh. I see the same… just going to check… 2miles? That can’t be right… I walk 4 miles a day? Why do I even bother with the gym? How fast do I walk? That only takes me about 25 minutes… Wow…
Anyway, I have seen the exact same 2 mile strip of land for over a year now and I have only just started to notice it. I have been setting off earlier and going out of my way to find new things.
So, dear reader, my suggestion for you is to start noticing where you’re going. Trust me, it will really brighten up your day.
We distance ourselves from where we are as we get to where we’re going (that was unnecessarily profound) and we miss so much.
The swath of land I have trodden upon on my way to work isn’t going anywhere, but the time I have taken walking it has gone forever, and it makes you wonder. How many of these beautiful, small, seemingly insignificant moments did you miss because you were on autopilot on your way to work?
I have missed too many and I don’t intend to miss any more. I would advise you to start doing the same.