The Joy of Just Being.
Dernière mise à jour : 22 avr.
My weekend plans this weekend: ‘just being’; I just want to ‘be’.
My favourite hobby has always been ‘just being’. Ever since I was a baby, my mum said she could sit me in a corner of a room, and I would be content just to sit there for hours on end. Now that I’m older I don’t practise this hobby of being in a corner of a room, but rather now in a public space, like a park or a café.
When I can sit and look at the world around me, people going on with their lives, I can’t help but be filled with an immense feeling of wonder.
I find there to be something magic in looking at the world, at the people in it, and thinking about how every person here has their own individual lives. They all have their own likes, dislikes, hopes and traumas. I recently discovered the word for this feeling I experience on the daily: sonder.
Sonder is the profound realisation that every random person who passes you by, is living as vivid and complex of a life as you are.
I am the main character in my own life, but to other people I am just an extra. I think that my troubles are the most important thing in the world, but the reality is that every person I pass on the street each day has their own set of troubles to contend with.
I find it quite comforting, as I believe it puts things into perspective. It helps me zoom out of my own life to look at the wider picture and realise that my problems are actually very small in the grand scheme of things.
There is a typically Parisian park near my flat (think green benches and aggressive ducks). Across the street from this particular park is a café called ‘Dose,’ a café that serves the best coffee and desserts I have ever tasted (sorry Gail’s, but they have chocolate chip scones at this place!).
As a result of this café’s wonderful goods and close proximity to the park, almost everyone here has a Dose coffee cup in their hand and a bag of something delicious.
Groups of teenagers squashed altogether on one bench, tired parents pushing prams, loners like me with a book opened on their lap, all connected through our free advertisement for Dose café. I find it hard to explain, but this feeling of connectedness makes me feel happy (maybe I’ve been living alone for too long?).
My sonder goes into overdrive in this park.
I look at couples waking hand-in-hand and try to gauge how long they have been together judging by their body language.
I look at parents with their young children and wonder how much sleep they got last night, judging by how heavy their feet land on the ground and how tightly they are clutching onto their coffee cup, almost for dear life.
I look at elderly people and try to imagine the amazing lives they have led up until this point, and offer them a smile to show them that I am not an 'unfriendly young person'.
I look at other people who are alone like me and I question: are they happy to be alone? Do they feel lonely? Are they Parisians or a foreigner like me?
People-watching provokes sonder, which in turn provokes a sense of awe and wonder. With a good book and a good seat to watch the world go by, I am truly in my happy place.