By: Dina Badawi
Next time you’re commuting, or just walking around Toronto, stop for a second and notice how fast you’re traveling. It’s not just you; everyone around you is moving quickly too. Is everyone in a rush? Are you in a rush? Sometimes the answer is yes and have to run to class or an appointment, but often the answer is no, but you still seem stuck in this whirlpool. If you slow down, people are annoyed with you; they try to pass you, and it can feel like you’re behind in the race. The race for what exactly? Who knows.
Everyone wants to be first: hop onto the train first, get to the stairs first, or be the first in line. I get it, we don’t like waiting, but take this example for instance. I am on the train going home, the moment the door closes at the stop before mine everyone that’s getting off with me is already by the door, I feel pressured. I leave my seat located right by the door, and I stand. Why? It’s not like standing up gets me out of the train faster, but it’s a social pressure. Walk fast, talk fast, move fast – that’s the environment created in a big city like Toronto.
Not only does this lead to more agitated people, but it also leads to higher levels of stress. Being someone who has tried both living in Toronto and commuting to Toronto, I can confidently say that Toronto’s constant rush is very draining. It’s draining not because it’s physical activity, but because of the stress. One time, as I was running to the subway, and I accidentally bumped into a lady. Obviously, I apologized sincerely, and her answer kept playing around in my mind for weeks. She said, “That’s okay, but honey, why you runnin’!?” And while at that time, I did need to be somewhere, it got me thinking. Why are we running all the time? Is it as necessary as we make ourselves believe?
Think about it. By the time you reach your destination, you’re out of breath, sweaty, and probably a little crabby. There are times to run, like if you’re cutting it close for an exam or a job interview, but with a bit of luck and time management, you may be able to walk through our beautiful city and enjoy it a little bit more.
If you are ever at Union Station, look around. You will probably find one person that starts running. Maybe they are late, that’s okay. All of a sudden more people start running too. Did they just realize that they are all late too? Or is it that they were embarrassed to run? Or maybe they are not even sure why they are running.
So, the moral of the story, any time you don’t actually need to be rushing from one place to another, slow down a little, enjoy this moment, cherish having a bit of time, and you’ll see how much calmer you’ll be when you get to your destination. However, in times when you do need to run, do it without waiting for someone to start running first, but be careful. In a city this busy, make sure when you are rushing, you don’t accidentally hurt yourself or others.