Deep in Thought
Published on under the Life category.
This post was written on Saturday, April 15th, prior to Loneliness and published today, April 17th.
Lately, I have been reflecting on what I write on this blog. In my Moments of Joy series, I write about the experiences in my daily life that bring me joy; a warm, memorable feeling. My hope is to bring to light some of the moments that are easy to forget but that make days exciting.
In contrast, however, I find myself wanting to explore more of my experiences in writing. Thus, today I wanted to take a moment to reflect on how immersed in thought I can get when out and about, and how that makes me feel.
As I write, I am in a cafe, having written a Moments of Joy blog post moments earlier. This morning, I spent a few hours reading a newspaper in cafes. I enjoy reading, and my time with the newspaper is relaxing. But equally, I get so immersed in reading — and thought, because I have space to think without having any particular task to do — that I forget to fully take note of my environment.
I can go from observational to seemingly cut off in a short space of time. I revel in noticing the small moments of joy in a day. Yet I can act the opposite at times and be fully immersed in thought. Flow, perhaps? I’m not sure.
Unpacking this thought further, it occurs to me whether reading is a way for me to focus on something other than the world around me. When it is just me, not having a task at hand can make me feel disconnected. A thought I would prefer to avoid.
My neck looks down to read, limiting my scope of view and my understanding of the environment around me. The rest of the world can feel social, while I am quietly me, sitting in the background. Occupied, but distant.
Am I overthinking? Perhaps. I wanted to write this down in case my experience resonates with someone: going out in public, only to feel closed off at times.
This is emphasized when I play piano in front of others. The activity of playing in front of others is enjoyable. I like seeing reactions from people, knowing that I have been able to have a tiny impact on their day. Yet I need to make a conscious effort to look above the keys.
How many reactions — moments, potential memories — have I missed because I looked down when I could be looking up?
On further reflection, I remembered another way in which the aforementioned attribute — being distant while in public — manifests. When I walk, I often walk fast.
I have a friend who, for years, has walked faster than me; walking fast was part of being on the same page, a way of bonding. Walking fast may be my body’s way of connecting to that relationship even though we no longer keep in touch as often as we used to. On the other hand, walking fast disconnects me.
Earlier this morning, I stopped to look back on the street in which I was walking. I noticed a building that I must have walked past many times before. But I could not recall what I was. I was seeing the building from a new angle. The sky above was blue. As clear as could be.
Later, in a separate part of Edinburgh, I stopped once again after walking through a scenic street that I like. I saw no clouds in the sky. Near me, beautiful old buildings. I felt connected. Then my mind gravitated inward.
What’s next? I should look up more. When I do, I often experience many little moments of joy, or see something that changes my perspective.
A few weeks ago, I looked up at the sky as nighttime approached. I saw two stars. Both far apart. There were only two visible. I found this poetic, almost romantic. Two stars in the burgeoning night sky, apart, but sharing the same scene. I felt curious about the stars.
Had I not looked up — literally — I wouldn’t have seen that scene, nor would I be writing about it today.
Going broader, a thought came to mind that I codified in my mind a few weeks ago: I find traveling, while stressful at times, exciting and opening. Yet everyday interactions like having cohesive discussions with baristas or answering a phone call are often difficult. This is a tangent, but part of me.
I am still sitting in the same cafe in which I started this post. I have put my phone down many times to give myself room to think. I looked up and saw a barista spin the plastic plate on which they deliver food and collect dishes on one finger. Truly amazing. They had a smile on their face while spinning the plate.
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