Yesterday was the first day back at work for many people in Vienna. In fact, many residents were gone over the Christmas holidays, which start here on December 24 and go through January 6 (Three Kings) so this year went through January 9 because the 6th was a Friday.
I had gotten quite used to empty streets, seats available on the tram, limited lines as the supermarket, the peace and quiet, and so on. Actually, I had not only gotten used to it, I really enjoyed it!
To help with the transition to a busier environment, I decided just to try to notice what was different, using comparison as an aid to curiosity. This is something I’ve explored before here, here, and here.
Yes, navigating the street to the park this morning was more challenging. There were simply more people, and some of them looked stunned to be back to everyday life. Some even looked dismayed. Once we got to the park there were suddenly more dogs and people to greet and more activity in general. There was some sense of purpose, at least in those people who did not look stunned or dismayed. And there was a realization that everything would be back to normal opening hours, for example, which in Vienna can be a big deal. (No more excuses for closing your doors on a Friday!)
I find myself questioning the value of this exercise: How was it better to go into this situation with awareness, seeking to compare without judging on-vacation Vienna with no-longer-on-vacation Vienna? And I keep coming back to the answer: It helps me notice more and be calmer about changes I wouldn’t otherwise necessarily find pleasurable. I’m simply exploring.