En route to the delayed train home from Kings Cross St. Pancras after a working/networking day I walked head-on into a sight which sent my happy hormones plummeting into panic mode.
Immediately I left work, hurrying back to Angel to begin my commute, I saw the sight no Londoner wants to see. Police tape everywhere, a plethora of emergency service vehicles, flashing lights and downcast faces on every corner with a sombre hush punctuating the air.
Someone, a temporarily nameless male figure, had collapsed and passed away, on their merry way around the market, gathering sweet treats to take home to delight the family. Belongings strewn on the pavement, destined for a soulless plastic bag of personal effects, his hard earned currency now worthless and no further need for his comfortable shoes and light autumnal overcoat. After the initial shock of witnessing this, it seems poignant to re-evaluate the worth of how I spend my precious time on this planet. Not more than 100 feet away from where we had been chatting, learning, schmoozing and engaging, a life had been snuffed out.
Of course we must adhere to the demands of running a family, paying for a home, holding down a job, or the upkeep of whichever walk of life we choose to take. Daily we grind, we stress, we fuss, we fight, all to reach whatever goal we strive to achieve. But do we forget, in our hurry, to relish in the things fundamental to us, the elements we take for granted every day and instead, give prominence to the paycheck?
When was the last time you stopped the household chores for ten minutes en route to wine o'clock and read your toddler that bedtime story upon request? Did you switch off your phone as soon as your older child walked through the door and really listened when they told you about their school day? On the commute last week, did you attend to emails all the way home and walk through the door moaning about work? Have you called your parents/siblings/loved ones recently or has time 'just flown by'? Have you interacted more on Instagram this month with your followers than you have with your friends? If you haven't dealt positively with one or more of these, it's time for a re-group!
We are all incredibly guilty of allowing the demands of our modern, action-packed lives it's easy to lose grounding and let the fundamentals slip. It's time to go retro and sweat the small stuff again.
1. Send that 'just because' card by snail mail to your friend having a hard time and lift their spirits, an uplifting bombshell among the bills will make their day.
2. If budget allows, arrange to have flowers delivered to your mum/sister/lover out of the blue, randomly remind them how fab they are.
3. When someone is struggling to get through the barrier with their train ticket in rush hour, instead of sighing audibly, smile and throw them a sympathetic glance. It will pay dividends!
4. Pick your toddler up from pre-school and take them blackberry/leaf/acorn picking! Stamp in muddy puddles, look for 'precious' fossils! The pure joy on their innocent faces will warm your cockles and bring you back to basics with a bump.
5. After a busy day at work, don't switch the tv on to keep the kids occupied while you make dinner. Get them to come and help you, make D-I-Y pizzas or open sandwiches.
We are all entitled to a night off, with a quick-fix - that's why God invented Pinterest, right?
6. Remember that happy mum (or dad) = happy kids so give yourself a mini-boost every time you can, you deserve it! Stop the chores early, paint your nails, pick up a book, read a magazine or watch your guilty pleasure on TV.
7. Stick on the home movie DVD and reminisce just how little the children used to be. Delight in the fact that one raspberry or cute face from your baby could send you into fits of giggles for hours on end! Then take an extra moment to watch them sleep, its a no-brainer
8. Make time and organise a girls night out, the ultimate feel-good. Also create a whatsapp group message with your friends after the messy night out. You will be amazed at how ridiculous you all were and it will give you a giggle on the daily grind.
9. Date night. You talk about it but how often do you actually make it happen? Budget night in or swanky night out, it all counts. Bring back the magic!
10. Over breakfast, put some i-tunes on and do silly dances to the top downloads with the kids. We all need to laugh, never forget that it extends your life expectancy...
In essence, whatever your challenges, worries and stresses in life, please take a moment to evaluate what you are neglecting and fix it fast, because one day, one thing is guaranteed - that chance will be gone.