Follow one Londonista trying to put the brakes on with Slow Club.
Spa Fields Park, behind Exmouth Market in Clerkenwell - another bit of London greenery when you don't expect it.
Well, it's not been the most auspicious start.
My boyfriend's buyer has pulled out, and we've crashed back on square one. And what with more viewings, deadlines and personal commitments, I've not been in the mood for taking time out. This is probably where I'm going wrong. To me, slowing down is something you have to schedule in and be given permission for. Hence the annual holiday when you finally get to do nothing but stare at the sea and drink pina coladas.
So I must sheepishly own up to not taking part in the "slow adventure". I was meant to discover somewhere quiet and tune out. But, although I failed miserably, it's been a great surprise to hear so many great suggestions: from Postman’s Park to Gray’s Inn Field to St James Church. And that’s just the area where I work.
Not only did it make me more determined check out these places, and give myself a breather from the office, but it demonstrated how much people value those slithers of solitude, even in a big capital city. Perhaps especially.
What I also managed to do last week was pay attention to my pace. I’ve realised that I don’t just walk quickly but I speak quickly, eat quickly...
I also slowed down my commute. Strolling to the station didn’t result in any great Wordsworthian epiphany - but I did find that, instead of fixating on my destination, my brain had a chance to think other thoughts, to relax and luxuriate. I came up with a story idea and worked through a little ‘niggle’ that’s been stressing me out.
It also reminded me how socially phobic we Londoners can be. Usually, in a public situation, we keep our heads down and our newspapers up. Drifting along with my head held high made me feel a little exposed. I had to make eye contact!
I still overtake dawdlers when I don’t watch myself, but it’s just the beginning...so let’s hope I do better this week!
Image from mrlerone's Flickrstream as Creative Commons-licensed content.