It’s the little things. The guards put up the Christmas tree in the garden, the lights running vertically instead of horizontally- the Chinese way. The childish squeals of laughter and late-night tantrums next door have been replaced by James Blunt’s “You’re beautiful…” (someone is getting lucky tonight). He’s given himself his monthly self hair trim, she’s wearing a new shade of lipstick that makes her eyes glisten. The corner of the street no longer smells like sweet pineapple, instead roasted chestnuts (on an open fire) drift in every direction, enticing the winter crowds.
How aware are you of yourself, other people and your surroundings? Think about it…
What colour are your eyes? My colleague has a little black heart on the iris of his eye and if he hadn’t told me, would I have ever noticed? My mum and sister have identical teeny-tiny holes at the top of their ears, and nobody knows why. I wonder how many people outside my family have noticed?
I’ll admit, I am very aware of other people and consciously take note when little changes appear. When I first meet someone I try to identify their distinguishing features so I can put a face with the name. I’m not sure if these are good, solid observation skills or if I am just very sensitive to everyone and everything in the environment around me? Either way, it’s something I like- a talent for discovering the little, subtle things.
In acting class this week, our director paired us up and asked us to look at our partners for 20 seconds, noting everything about them. He then asked us to turn the other way and have each of us change one thing about our own appearance. I immediately panicked. My partner was wearing a purple top and had her hair down, but other than that I couldn’t recall anything. I was given a simple task and yet suddenly I couldn’t even remember what colour her shoes were, or even what type of shoes they were for that matter. On any normal day this wouldn’t have been a problem, but it was as if the task of being asked to observe, suddenly made me not observe. My mind tricked me into thinking I’d noticed everything. The second time we did it, I made sure to make a conscious effort to observe everything about my partner, starting from the head all the way to the shoes. Being scrutinised on such an extreme level is quite intimidating, but also exhilarating to be able to detect so many little things about this human being standing right there in front of you. I always thought being a detective would be fun…
This kind of close observation is not only important in theatre, but also in real life. Of course I’m not just referring to peoples appearances, but every single little and big thing in our lives. Seriously, the world could be a much happier, peaceful place if people paid a bit more attention to others and things around them, as opposed to constantly staring at themselves on their front-facing camera phones taking selfies.
Next time you’re on a date, check out what colour eyes your lover has, and focus on him/her instead of constantly checking social media. Also, how cool do the bare trees look in winter? So dramatic and magical…Ah no, wait…the last time you looked up the spring flowers were just appearing.
Life is flying by so fast guys. Let’s live in this moment and soak it all up before we wake up and it’s the winter of 2015 and we didn’t even notice the colours, encounters and missed opportunities that a whole year sent flying our way.
Image by Tara Jacoby