Dawdling and Discovery in a City Addicted to Speed

The verb ‘dawdle’ means to waste time, to idle; it also signifies moving slowly or languidly. I used to think dawdling was for toddlers and tourists. For five years I raced through my days and ignored my chronic back pain until walking, working, sitting and sleeping became impossible and surgery inevitable.

In April 2014, my rockstar neurologist discharged me from hospital with minimal pain relief and instructions to take a daily walk. The first outing around my west London neighbourhood was tentative. I had nowhere to be and nothing to do except move one foot in front of the other. Something unexpected happened

This new pace allowed me to observe hidden treasures and enjoy the present: a quirky shop window, the whiff of fresh gloss paint, an exchange of smiles, childish chatter from a local playground, the warmth of spring sunshine on my cheeks, a magnolia tree in full bloom, the distant rumble of a Tube train.

The lens through which I saw my native city had changed and it was exhilarating. I ambled home inspired to write for the first time in many months. These daily strolls healed my body and reconnected my frazzled burned-out mind with my creativity.

Dawdling opened up space for me to think and reflect on how I really wanted to live. It gave me the courage to choose slow in a city addicted to speed, to cultivate my curiosity and later, to embark on a new way of working. How could any of that be labelled a waste of time?

In these pages you will read about inspiring pilgrimages, adventures and quests. Remember the power and simplicity of dawdling, idling wherever you are right now. Wander, wonder and make space for connection and discovery. Meaningful revelations await. Are you ready?

[This post was first published in Beyond The Field of Stars]