Good morning, you marvellous creature. How’re you doing?
Today I would like you to imagine that your brain is a London Underground tube carriage. What do you think it would be like? Is it full of commuters? Is there a school trip of fluorescently-clad children accompanied by one harassed teacher? Maybe it’s the last train home, and a few sozzled friends are giggling manically in the corner. For many of us, it will be the one with a homeless person wandering through asking for change, and a baby screaming at top volume. In other words, our brains are crowded, noisy, awkward and confusing.
There are approximately 34 seats per tube carriage on London Underground trains, but you hardly ever see a train carriage that’s just neatly filled with 34 seated people, do you? In the same way, our thoughts and feelings do not sit neatly in our brains in a designated space; they run around and confuse us. For example, the items on your mental to do list are like the school kids on a day trip, who run around and worry you in case one drops off.
Life is difficult , and worrying, and exciting. It’s also going by very quickly. Particularly in cities and especially for people who have busy lifestyles, it’s difficult to feel properly connected to one another. (Like ships passing in the night, perhaps. I have no idea where this transport obsession has come from, by the way. I’ll be banging on about the “aeroplanes of ambition” next, I expect.) It’s so irritating in its self-exacerbation: we get stressed out because we’re so busy and we have no time to see our friends and loved ones, and then we get more stressed out because we haven’t seen our friends or loved ones for ages, ad infibloodynitum.
It’s not easy to do, and for some people social stuff goes completely out of the window when the pressure’s on at work or what have you, but we have to keep connections with people during times of stress. I’ve got a huge to do list on my desk (and I’m genuinely starting to think that it might be sentient), but I am aware that I’ll go loopy if I don’t talk to a good friend today. Similarly, my friend Laura is studying all morning in the British Library, and her PhD will make her crazy if she doesn’t switch of from it for half an hour, so to solve both of our problems we are going to drink coffee together and have a chat.
Sounds like I’m encouraging procrastination, doesn’t it? I’m honestly not. I believe in working hard and doing something you’ve set out to do, but I also believe that burning out and cutting yourself off from people is an incredibly stupid and damaging thing to do. Thinking that you are alone with your crowded carriage mind is silly, because everyone feels like that. Also, when did you last see a train with six empty carriages and one full one? Exactly. Now go and ring someone who likes you.
Have a fantastic Tuesday.