It is perhaps one of the most fascinating pastimes. It doesn’t cost anything to participate, you don’t need to have any particular skills or expertise, you can spend as little or as much time on it as you’d like, and it is nearly always guaranteed to be interesting. Sometimes even enlightening.
I’m talking about people watching.
My Granddad was an avid people-watcher. Later in life, when his health limited his mobility, he could entertain himself for hours just sitting on a bench at the park or at a mall. A teenager at the time, I couldn’t think of anything less interesting than just sitting around and watching people. I couldn’t even conceive of going to the mall without setting foot in a store. What fun would that be?
Now that I’m older, I’m beginning to realize the value of people-watching. Just sitting at a window seat in a coffee shop, casually watching people as they pass by, can be calming. Or you might be one of those people who experience people-watching almost as a form of centring your thoughts, like a form of meditation.
People-watching can be particularly interesting if you take note of facial expressions and body language. I think it’s fascinating that emotions can often be as obvious as a billboard sign. You can tell which couples are in love and which recently had a fight. You can tell those who had a good day at work from those who didn’t.
People-watching has also taught me to be more aware of my own feelings and how they’re broadcast to the world. It also makes me think about how I want others to see me, particularly when I’m in a situation meeting someone for the first time: Do I portray confidence? Kindness? Am I approachable, or cold and aloof?
Perhaps that’s why my grandfather was one of the most self-composed and serene people I have ever known.
Thanks for the lesson, Granddad.
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My daughter and I were out walking recently, taking advantage of a beautiful fall evening — and yes, maybe doing a little people-watching – when we happened to cross paths with fellow Windsor Park residents Peter and Val, who were also out enjoying the unseasonably warm weather with their dog, Brandi. My daughter, being a true dog lover, was thrilled at the opportunity to ‘meet’ a new friend.
I want to send a special thank you to Peter, Val and Brandi for their kindness and patience in taking the time to stop and chat with us!
Heather Tiede is a community correspondent for Windsor Park. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.