Slow down. Stop and breathe. Take in the sights and sounds around you. Do you know how much you miss when you’re driving? Sure, you can get to places far away. But do you know what you’re missing near where you live because you’re busy racing by?

So often I climb into my car and race off to where I am going. The destination is the point. The journey fraught with annoyance and delay. I rarely enjoy the drive. I want to get where I’m going.

This morning I woke up early on my day off. I jumped into my car and drove it to the dealership to have some repairs made. I dropped off my car. I handed over the key and then…

I had to get home.

The dealership is about 2.5 miles from home. My way home could have taken many forms. I could catch a local bus and ride it right to my front door. I could hail a cab and pay dearly for those short miles. I could walk to the metro station and take the subway to a closer stop and walk the rest of the way home.

I decided to spend time instead of money. I have time today. I don’t have to be anywhere. I don’t have to get to work. The whole day is wide open to me.

So I walked.

The weather is cool. The scattered showers fell elsewhere. It took me about an hour and I feel good.

I feel awake and I feel ready to start my day. I am sitting in the sofa in my living room and typing these words. I am reflecting on some ideas I had walking home. I got through a few podcasts I’d been meaning to listen to when I wasn’t distracted by anything else.

And I noticed some new things. I noticed a little stream that runs under the road near my house I’ve never seen before. Despite working at the National Institutes of Health, I’ve never noticed just how much green space there was on the campus.

Deer jumping

Deer are a common sight on the NIH campus.

I didn’t realize much (maybe all) of the NIH campus is an environmentally protected area. Deer are a common sight. There is so much concrete in the city, the NIH campus is an oasis of green plant life. It’s a welcomed change from the urban black and gray.

There is a church on a hill I drive past every day is the Bethesda Meeting House which is responsible for naming the modern city of Bethesda, MD based on the place of healing referenced in the Bible.

I spend too much of my life racing around and trying to get to where I’m going. It’s good to slow down and take in what’s around you. Walk around your neighborhood and see what you’ve never noticed before.