if you’ve ever ridden the tube in london during rush hour, you know: it’s survival of the fittest. your body moves—or rather is moved—along with the black-clad mass of humanity pushing forward toward the platform. as you stand and wait for the train to arrive, you’re reminded, with quintessential british politeness and decorum, to “mind the gap.” translation: be careful while crossing the space between the platform and the train door.
i’ve always found this warning amusing, as if “the space between” was the ominous danger. last time i checked, fear of being trampled or getting eaten alive by the jaws of life (aka the train doors) when, half-in and half-out, you can’t quite squeeze your entire body into the sardine-packed train car, was a much more perilous proposition. just ask my co-worker(!)…but i digress.
recently an old friend who reads the blog wrote me a lovely note. “thanks for all your photos and musings—they close the gap in such a wonderful way.” they were beautiful, unexpected words, and it occurred to me that it was such an interesting way to phrase the compliment.
the gap. the space in between. the filler time spent refreshing our phones, worrying about plans, checking off lists, waiting for the next meeting or appointment or thing you have to do.
is it really throw-away time? useless moments that mean nothing? is it blasphemy to think that possibly, they are…more?
last week, i was in new york for a work trip. big CEO presentation. high stress. down-to-the-wire drama the night before. shmoozy networking dinner. and many sleep-deprived nights.
thankfully everything went off without a hitch and i was scheduled to fly out the next day. time for breakfast. an hour to kill before heading off to the airport. grab a starbucks in the hotel lobby, check email, scan the internet, pound my latte and hit the road?
fall in nyc. 18 blocks from central park. room to breathe. time to exhale.
i put on my flats (yes, flats!) and hit the street.
manhattan. horn honking, fashion werqing, people watching, sidewalk trashing, construction worker whistling, people bustling, energy pulsing in this city that i love.
and then the park. i’ve been there many times before. but was still completely swept. off. my. feet.
mind the gap. don’t just step over, plow ahead, as if all the appointments in your outlook calendar are the only things that matter. as in london, the signs will be subtle. no one is going to block off an hour in your calendar to stop and smell the roses.
i know you’re busy. i get it. but don’t fall victim to the real jaws of life, the mind-numbing routines, the corner-cutting rat race, the soul-sucking obligations.
an hour. 20 minutes. a couple seconds. when you can, mind the spaces in between. they’re small. seemingly insignificant…but they can fill more than just the time. they can fill you up. and feed your soul.