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18 In ramblings

watching the world go by | just people watching

Picture gallery at Ham & Jam, Preston, England

There’s something way too fascinating about just sitting and watching the world go by.  It tends to happen by accident – when you’re in the middle of something and suddenly realise that you just spent 5 minutes gawping out the window, doing nothing of merit whatsoever.

At least that’s how it goes for me, anyway.  Maybe I’m just more weird than I thought.

I took myself out for lunch and coffee today, just for a change of scenery tbh.  I mean, I know I’ve only been back on English soil for 4 days, but I get cabin fever really easily.  Plus it’s miserable and cold and not at all summery in England atm (it’s July, what else could we expect?!?) and I felt like the drizzly view from my bedroom window was all too ‘meh’.  Something about taking my laptop and notebook elsewhere magically makes me loads more productive too.  It’s great.  All about that coffee shop creative life.

My perch in this particular coffee shop fave (Ham & Jam in Preston, for any of ya locals) has those huge glass windows that A) make for good Instagram lighting, and B) give you a good view to watch the world go by.  Usually there’s nothing remotely exciting to watch, not gonna lie.  BUT, I hadn’t realised that today was graduation day, and if anything’s bloody brilliant for peoplewatching, it’s hundreds of people dressed up to the nines at 12:30 on a Tuesday lunchtime.  What better opportunity to check out the heels and dresses, really?

In addition to eyeing up the nice frocks (spotted some sassy pants jumpsuits too), I always find myself wondering what lives people lead when I’m caught in these little dazes.  Just wondering for the sake of wondering, even if I forget it all half an hour later.  Unless I write down my observations, that is.  Like this time I blogged about the people around me on a train.  Today I sat there casually wondering who’s graduated in what… who’s had a great time and didn’t want to leave… who’s been counting down the days until graduation since freshers… who has a clue what they’re doing with their post-grad lives and who has no idea whatsoever.

It’s interesting just noticing the similarities and differences.  Obviously a lotta people go to one uni, and whilst most looked about 21, plenty were all different ages too.  I wonder what made them decide to go to uni later in life?  Did they regret not going earlier?  Is this their third degree?

Some had clearly taken the unusual opportunity to get glammed up on a Tuesday morning weren’t letting any Lancashire drizzle rain on their parade.  Some were barefoot on the pavement because they’d surrendered to the heels pain already.  Some looked like they’d been forced to wear something other than a tshirt for the first time in a year.

Everybody’s taking photos with family.  Some are checking they look ok, fluffing up their hair and asking their dad to take another 6 iPhone snaps to be sure.  Some just want the damn photo over and done with.

Some families looked like carbon copies of each other, and all 3 kids had mum’s eyes and dad’s nose.  Some families couldn’t look less alike if they tried.

Some had brought their entire extended family, plus their cousin’s best friend and nephew’s dog.  Some just had ma or pa by their side.


Sooner or later I stopped staring out the window and resumed typing and editing and emailing and all that productive jazz.  Still kept an ear and en eye on the goings on around me though.  Possibly my favourite thing I overheard all day?   A dad explaining to his young daughter why people are wearing funny square hats.

“Because when you leave university, you graduate, and you celebrate wearing a square hat and a robe”.

“Then you get a job and you’re an adult?”.

“Huh. In theory.”

Ahh life.  Here’s to never feeling like adults and wishing you could have the innocent world view of a 5 year old.

lily kate x

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  • Reply
    Nelu Mbingu
    14th July 2016 at 7:48 pm

    I think we should all give ourselves time to relax and just appreciate the beauty of the world. Fantastic read, Lily!

    • Reply
      lily kate
      14th July 2016 at 8:55 pm

      Thanks Nelu! It can be so inspiring to just sit and watch other people sometimes too, far better than trying to force yourself to be creative!

  • Reply
    PJ Zafra
    14th July 2016 at 7:54 pm

    Great post here Lily,

    There’s a lot to learn and realize when you observe other people and the way they live life. Life sure blazes by really quick especially these days but we absolutely NEED to slow things down and just enjoy the moment.

    One quote that always sticks out to me is “We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.” Definitely a lot of truth to that. Very important to let our inner-child out. So…Pokemon Go! Here I come! haha just kidding.

    Enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      lily kate
      14th July 2016 at 9:03 pm

      Thank you PJ! Life really does whizz past and it’s so easy just to take no notice of what’s going on around you, which is a shame.
      Love that quote. Gotta keep it fun to stay young. 🙂 Go catch those pokemon!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply
    14th July 2016 at 8:02 pm

    I love the arch that is going on here! And now im craving coffee! lol


    • Reply
      lily kate
      14th July 2016 at 9:29 pm

      Me too, this cafe is so cute! Alwayssss craving coffee hehehe 😀

  • Reply
    Liz Mays
    14th July 2016 at 10:03 pm

    You’re right, it’s really interesting to think about how other people are experiencing the world and what their lives are like. You have to wonder if fiction writers are just able to tap into that really well.

    • Reply
      lily kate
      15th July 2016 at 9:51 pm

      Fiction writers must be brilliant at this kind of thing. It’s an exaggerated sense of empathy I guess. Interesting just to sit back and forget about your own life to think about others’ sometimes 🙂

  • Reply
    Nina Alexander
    15th July 2016 at 7:41 am

    Your text reminded me of the newly invented word “Sonder” – the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

    Perhaps it is a great idea to sometimes take a while and just observe life. Wonderful post!

    • Reply
      lily kate
      15th July 2016 at 9:59 pm

      Thank you so much Nina! “Sonder” describes my thoughts perfectly, love it. I wonder how many times our paths cross with the same people, without us even realising it?
      I often think about how differently our lives could be if we’d just made slightly different decisions – decisions we think are small at the time, but end up having a massive impact on our lives. Similar kind of thing 🙂

  • Reply
    15th July 2016 at 4:14 pm

    I really enjoy sitting by the window and looking outside at the people and their pets pass by. Sometimes I can even spot children with their mothers either in push chairs or cycles. It makes me happy!

    • Reply
      lily kate
      15th July 2016 at 10:10 pm

      Yay I’m not the only one! I love my window seat in my bedroom haha. Just so nice to watch the world go by!

  • Reply
    15th July 2016 at 4:17 pm

    Nice post!
    I often go out alone, just because it give me the luxury to observe people and my surroundings without getting disturbed. It’s amazing how many things you can notice if you just take a minute of your time to pay attention.

    • Reply
      lily kate
      15th July 2016 at 10:12 pm

      Thanks Annie! It’s nice to not have anyone else’s schedule to fit to sometimes isn’t it? All about that observant life!

  • Reply
    17th July 2016 at 8:37 pm

    I like watching people pass by, while having my weekend coffee on the Quay, in my home town. Luckily, this weekend it’s been finally sunny and warm in the UK, so I;m having big hopes that summer is finally arriving! 🙂

    • Reply
      lily kate
      19th July 2016 at 11:46 am

      That sounds like a perfect weekend to me. 😛 Me too! It’s showing 27 degrees today, I’m so happy!

  • Reply
    17th July 2016 at 9:25 pm

    So heartwarming post. Since I’m an introvert I love spending time with myself so much and I utterly enjoy in the time spent. It’s interesting to see how people are doing and to analyze them 🙂

    • Reply
      lily kate
      19th July 2016 at 11:47 am

      Thank you David! I’m an extrovert, which is probably why I enjoy the occasional time to myself so much. Glad it’s not just me who finds this fun 😀

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